MSK Awards & Appointments

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announces the following awards and appointments:

Craig B. Thompson Named Founding Member of New York Jobs CEO Council

Craig B. Thompson

Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MSK, was named a founding member of a newly formed organization called the New York Jobs CEO Council. Dr. Thompson is one of 27 CEOs from the largest organizations across New York City who have committed to hiring early career New Yorkers from low-income, Black, Latinx, and Asian communities into stable jobs and setting them up for long-term career success.

The council will collaborate with the City University of New York (CUNY), the New York City Department of Education, educational institutions, community organizations, and nonprofits to hire skilled workers from these communities and to provide them with resources, networks, youth apprenticeship opportunities, career best practices, and more. The council aims to hire an additional 100,000 New Yorkers by 2030, a goal which includes job opportunities and apprenticeships for 25,000 CUNY students.


Lisa DeAngelis and Julia Ramirez Named to Crain’s Notable in Healthcare List

Crain’s New York Business announced that Lisa DeAngelis, MD, and Julia Ramirez, MA, were included on its 2020 Notable in Healthcare list. The list celebrates outstanding individuals in the healthcare community within the New York metropolitan area and honors their professional, civic, and philanthropic achievements.

Dr. DeAngelis, Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer of MSK, and Ms. Ramirez, Community Outreach Manager of the Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities (IHCD) Service, were chosen for their exceptional leadership and dedication to their patients and staff.


Vinod Balachandran, Lydia Finley, and Andrea Schietinger Named Winners of the 2020 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators

The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance (PSSCRA) has named Vinod Balachandran, MD, Member, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research; Lydia Finley, PhD, Assistant Member at Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI); and Andrea Schietinger, PhD, Associate Member of the Immunology Program at SKI among the winners of the 2020 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators.

Drs. Balachandran, Finley, and Schietinger are three of seven recipients of this prestigious award — MSK is the only institution with more than one winner on its staff. The award is given annually to cancer research scientists and physician-scientists based in the greater New York area and is intended to provide early career scientists with “the freedom to take risks and pursue their boldest research at a stage when traditional funding is lacking.” Each investigator will receive $200,000 per year for up to three years.


Luis Diaz and Matthew Hellmann Receive Stand Up to Cancer 2020 Sharp Award

Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., MD, Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Grayer Family Chair, and Director of the Precision Intervention and Prevention Program at MSK, and Matthew Hellmann, MD, an MSK medical oncologist, were named recipients of Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) 2020 Sharp awards. They are members of two out of five research groups who received a total of $1.1 million in funding to address the most pressing questions associated with Ewing sarcoma and colorectal, pancreatic, lung, and pediatric cancers.

Dr. Diaz and Florencia McAllister, MD, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and early career investigator on the SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team, received a total of $200,000 for their study Genomic and therapeutic implications of selective bacterial and fungal colonization of gastrointestinal malignancies.”

Dr. Hellmann and Karin Pelka, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard General Hospital and SU2C Peggy Prescott Early Career Scientist, received a total of $200,000 for their study “Can scRNAseq-derived gene programs predict anti-PD1 response in high TMB CRC and NSCLC patients?” 


Michael Zelefsky
Michael Zelefsky Named 2020 ASTRO Fellow

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) named Michael Zelefsky, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Clinical Research; Chief, Brachytherapy Service; Steven A. Greenberg Chair in Prostate Cancer Research, to its 2020 class of ASTRO Fellows (FASTRO). Dr. Zelefsky is one of 19 members who were given a FASTRO designation. The 2020 class of fellows will be recognized at a virtual awards ceremony during ASTRO’s virtual annual meeting on October 27, 2020.


Cornelius Taabazuing Named to Cell Press News’ 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America List

Cornelius Taabazuing

Cornelius Taabazuing, PhD, was named to Cell Press News’ 100 inspiring Black scientists in America list. Dr. Taabazuing is a postdoctoral research fellow at SKI in the Daniel Bachovchin lab. He is particularly interested in enzymes that regulate programmed cell death pathways. He is currently being funded by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral fellowship and was recently awarded the E.E. Just Postgraduate Fellowship in the Life Sciences.


Dianne Lumaquin
Dianne Lumaquin Receives F30 Grant from National Cancer Institute

Dianne Lumaquin, a fifth-year student in the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research service F30 Award from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.

Ms. Lumaquin’s award will support her research in the Richard White Lab, where she will investigate the role of lipids in melanoma progression via induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress and lipid droplet formation. As part of the fellowship grant, she will receive $197,746 over four years.


Lisa Diamond Receives NBME Stemmler Fund Grant

Lisa Diamond

Lisa Diamond, MD, MPH, Assistant Attending Physician in the IHCD Service and hospitalist at MSK, and Pilar Ortega, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, were named recipients of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Edward J. Stemmler, MD, Medical Education Research Fund, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Drs. Diamond and Ortega are one of five groups to receive grant funds to conduct research that addresses critical areas of assessment of medical education.

They were awarded $149,971 over two years for their project entitled “Medical Spanish Proficiency Assessment: Evaluating Physician Communication with Spanish-Speaking Patients in Medical Education Settings.”


Tuomas Tammela Named Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

Tuomas Tammela

Tuomas Tammela, MD, PhD, Assistant Member at SKI and cancer biologist, was named to the Rita Allen Foundation’s 2020 class of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars. Dr. Tammela is one of five early career scientists who were chosen to conduct innovative research in cancer. The Scholars will each receive up to $110,00 in grant funding for a maximum of five years.

Dr. Tammela and his lab team will use the funding to gain therapeutic control of cancer cell state transitions, which hold tremendous potential in eradicating treatment-resistant cancer cells and eventually providing significantly better outcomes for cancer patients.


Mark Gendron Named to Pathologist Magazine’s 2020 Power List

Mark Gendron

Mark Gendron, Manager of Quality Systems in Laboratory Medicine, was named a “Lab Hero” on the Pathologist Magazine’s 2020 Power List. He was nominated by his peers for going above and beyond his duty throughout the COVID-19 crisis, securing testing supplies, coordinating emergency staffing schedules, and working with research colleagues to validate additional testing and increase capacity.


Jue Jiang Receives the 2020 Jack Fowler Junior Investigator Award

Jue Jiang

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) announced that Jue Jiang, PhD, Machine Learning Scientist in MSK’s Department of Medical Physics, was named a recipient of the AAPM’s 2020 Jack Fowler Junior Investigator Award. Established in honor of Jack Fowler, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Human Oncology and Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin, the Jack Fowler Junior Investigator Award is given to junior investigators with exceptional abstracts and data.

Dr. Jiang was recognized for his study “Joint Adversarial Generator-Segmentor for Unsupervised CT to MRI Synthesis Based MRI Lung Tumor Segmentation,” which investigates the success of deep learning for unsupervised MRI lung tumor segmentation. He is currently working on, developing, and implementing deep learning models for clinical use.