MSK Awards & Appointments

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


Katharine Hsu Named Director of Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program

Katharine Hsu

MSK’s Katharine Hsu, MD, PhD, has been named director of the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, a joint program between Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Founded in 1972, the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program awards a medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College and a doctorate from either the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, or The Rockefeller University. The program has trained more than 400 physician-scientists working in a range of areas in clinical medicine, scientific research, and education. In her new role, Dr. Hsu will work to diversify matriculating classes and train students to become skilled leaders as both clinicians and biomedical researchers, bridging the two areas and bolstering the vital partnership that leads to breakthroughs in medicine. Dr. Hsu will succeed Dr. Olaf Andersen, who directed the program for 25 years, blending the cultures of the three institutions into one expanded training program and boosting its national profile. Dr. Hsu will prioritize working to increase racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender diversity of the MD-PhD classes so that students and graduates represent the population as a whole.


Charles L. Sawyers Awarded Prestigious AACR Distinguished Public Service Award

Charles L. Sawyers

MSK’s Charles L. Sawyers, MD, was named an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Distinguished Public Service Award winner. The award is given to three individuals whose extraordinary work has exemplified the AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy, advocacy, and funding for cancer research.  Other winners are Kathy Giusti, MBA, founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Harvard Business School Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator; and Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Each recipient will receive their award virtually at the AACR Annual Meeting 2021.

Dr. Sawyers was given the award in recognition of his dedication to advancing precision medicine by conceptualizing, then leading, AACR Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange) through its formative years. Sawyers envisioned AACR Project GENIE as an international, pan-cancer registry of real-world data, built through data sharing among participating institutions, with the goals of powering precision oncology and clinical decision-making while remaining dedicated to open science and collaboration. As a result of Sawyers’ leadership and guidance as chair of the AACR Project GENIE executive and steering committees, the most recent public data release contained nearly 113,000 sequenced samples from more than 104,000 patients treated at 19 participating institutions, making the AACR Project GENIE registry among the largest fully public cancer genomic data sets released to date.

Dr. Sawyers is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also holds the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair in Human Oncology and Pathogenesis and is Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at MSK. He served as AACR President from 2013 to 2014 and was elected to the 2014 class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. Last year, he was elected by the Fellows of the AACR Academy as the AACR Academy President-Elect for 2020–2021. He will assume the Presidency of the AACR Academy at the AACR Annual Meeting 2021.


Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr. Named to AACR Board of Directors

Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr.

MSK’s Luis Alberto Diaz Jr., MD, was elected to the AACR Board of Directors for the 2021–2024 term. Dr. Diaz is the head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Grayer Family Chair, and Director of the Precision Intervention and Prevention Program at MSK. Other members elected to the Board of Directors for the 2021–2024 term include Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD; Susan M. Galbraith, MD, PhD; Thomas J. Lynch Jr., MD; and Lisa A. Newman, MD.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Named 2021 US CIO 100 Award Winner

Memorial Sloan Kettering

Memorial Sloan Kettering was named as a US CIO 100 award winner. The CIO 100 celebrates 100 IT organizations for driving digital business growth through technology innovation. Honorees will be recognized at the annual CIO 100 Symposium and Awards Ceremony in August. The list is now in its 34th year.

MSK is being recognized for VIOLET (Very Intelligent Oncology Language-Enabled Tech), a home-grown proof of concept artificial intelligence system built by MSK’s Tech Incubation team. VIOLET was selected for this prestigious award for its excellence in the use of voice technology to facilitate natural and helpful interactions between people and clinical information systems to support cancer care. Winners are chosen by a team of external judges on their use of leading-edge IT practices that produce measurable results. The award is an acknowledged mark of enterprise excellence.


Jonathan Wan Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 European List

Jonathan Wan

Sloan Kettering Institute’s Jonathan Wan, PhD, a Bioinformatics Engineer, has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 Europe list. Dr. Wan’s research involves developing new, more sensitive methods for detecting cancer in the blood.


Natassia Singh Named 2021 Circle of Excellence Award Winner from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Natassia Singh

MSK’s Natassia Singh, RN, was given a 2021 Circle of Excellence award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). This year, 18 nurses were awarded this honor for their solution-oriented approaches to challenges, including reducing healthcare-associated infection rates, improving work environment, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Criteria used to evaluate Circle of Excellence award candidates include relentless promotion of patient-driven excellence; strong communication skills; true collaboration; effective decision-making; meaningful recognition of others; ability to transform thinking, structures, and processes; and ability to address challenges and remove barriers to excellent patient care and achieve visible results through leadership.


Niloufer Khan, Zachary Epstein-Peterson, and Patrizia Mondello Named Lymphoma Research Foundation Grant Recipients

Niloufer Khan (right), Zachary Epstein-Peterson (left)

Niloufer Khan (right), Zachary Epstein-Peterson (left)

MSK’s Niloufer Khan, MD, MS, Zachary Epstein-Peterson, MD, and Patrizia Mondello, MD, PhD, MSc, were named 2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant recipients by the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), the nation’s largest nonprofit organization devoted to funding innovative lymphoma research and serving the lymphoma community through education programs, outreach initiatives, and patient services. The LRF announced it awarded 29 grant programs totaling more than $2 million to early career and disease-specific scientists based at many of the world’s leading cancer research institutions.

The 2021 LRF grantee class represents 19 medical institutions and academic medical centers in North America, covering various disease subtypes, treatments, and cohorts, including T-cell lymphomas, B-cell lymphomas, adolescent and young adult lymphoma, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Grant selections are awarded with the guidance of the LRF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which is comprised of 45 world-renowned lymphoma experts dedicated to seeking out the most innovative and promising lymphoma research projects for investment.


Oliver Harschnitz Named 2021 Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholar

Oliver Harschnitz

MSK’s Oliver Harschnitz, MD, PhD, has been named a Warren Alpert 2021 Distinguished Scholar.  The Warren Alpert Foundation postdoctoral program was established to advance neuroscience training as a bridge toward developing a career trajectory in academia, industry, or governmental science. This highly competitive national program is awarded to 5-7 individuals each year providing two years of support in a setting that permits independent scholarship to advance career development.