The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance has announced the recipients of the 2019 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research.
Awarded annually to early-career cancer research scientists and physician-scientists in the New York City area, the prize provides $200,000 a year for up to three years in support of research projects at a stage when traditional funding for such projects is lacking. The alliance also provides winners with opportunities to present their work to scientific and business audiences, helping to bridge the gap between the academic and business communities.
This year, the seven recipients include Swarnali Acharyya (Columbia University Medical Center), who is studying the biology of metastatic progression and the systemic changes induced by metastatic tumors; Adrienne Boire (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), who studies the spread of cancer into spinal fluid; Yael David (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), whose research examines how cancer cells evade damage from modifications to proteins in the cell after exposure to sugars, known as glycation; Matthew Greenblatt (Weill Cornell Medicine), whose research focuses on tumor growth in the bone; and Liam Holt (New York University School of Medicine), who is combining technologies from bioengineering and concepts from biophysics to understand the relationship between compression, the physical properties of cells, and cancer behavior.
In partnership with the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation — which seeks to advance knowledge in the life sciences by sponsoring scientific research with the potential to benefit mankind — the alliance awarded Mathers Foundation Fellowships to Alex Kentsis (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), whose lab is studying DNA transposase molecules that can mediate "cut-and-paste" rearrangements of human genes and cause mutations in childhood and select adult tumors; and Daniel Mucida (Rockefeller University), who studies the role of immune cells called intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) in the surveillance of the intestinal epithelial barrier and their role in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer.
"We are so proud of the seven passionate, brilliant, and innovative recipients of this year's Pershing Square Sohn Prize," said Bill Ackman, co-founder of the Pershing Square Foundation and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management. "To date, the Pershing Square Sohn Prize has been awarded to thirty-nine outstanding scientists who think unconventionally and explore new areas of research as they work to discover novel cancer therapies. We are honored to partner with them."
"We continue to be impressed by the superb quality of the scientific proposals we receive as well as the exceptionally talented researchers that are working in the New York academic institutions," said Olivia Tournay Flatto, co-founder and executive director of the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance and president of the Pershing Square Foundation. "It is our goal to build a community of innovative and talented individuals and to connect them with a family of funders and collaborators in pursuit of novel ideas, therapies, technologies, and, ultimately, knowledge."