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OKLAHOMA CITY – A more than $1 million grant for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will help scientists study cell division.

The $1.47 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow OMRF to explore how chromosomes function during the process of cell division.

Officials say the work “could help answer questions about [how] errors in cell division can lead to birth defects or conditions like cancer.”

OMRF scientist Susannah Rankin, Ph.D, received the award and will look at protein complexes called cohesion factors.

“You can look at it sort of like a car engine. You can’t fix something that’s broken without knowing how it’s supposed to work in the first place,” she said. “These discoveries are crucial to understanding what goes wrong in certain devastating conditions like birth defects and cancer, so we can better understand how to prevent them.”