MSK Awards & Appointments


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

Larry Norton Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Larry Norton

Larry Norton, MD, Senior Vice President, Office of the President; Medical Director, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center; Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of 252 individuals confirmed as part of the 2021 class.

Dr. Norton joins a select group of the nation’s most prominent scholars, scientists, writers, and artists as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders, which includes 21 past and present MSK faculty members and one board member.

Election to the Academy of Arts & Sciences is one of the most significant honors anyone can earn. Founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and 60 other scholar-patriots, the Academy was created with the recognition that a new nation would require institutions and individuals committed to advancing knowledge in service to the public good.

Michel Sadelain Receives the American Society of Gene + Cell Therapy Outstanding Achievement Award

Michel Sadelain

Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Cell Engineering; Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair, is a recipient of the American Society of Gene + Cell Therapy (ASGCT) Outstanding Achievement Award.

This award recognizes an ASGCT member who has achieved a pioneering research success, specific high-impact accomplishment, or lifetime of significant contributions to the field of gene and cell therapy. It is the society’s highest honor.

Dr. Sadelain’s research focuses on the mechanisms governing transgene expression, stem cell engineering, and genetic strategies to enhance immunity against cancer. He was presented with this recognition during the ASGCT Annual Meeting held May 11 to 14, 2021.

Michael Postow Receives the Melanoma Research Alliance 2021 Established Investigator Academic-Industry Partnership Award

Michael Postow

Michael Postow, MD, Chief, Melanoma Service, is a recipient of the Melanoma Research Alliance 2021 Established Investigator Academic-Industry Partnership Award. The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) is the largest nonprofit funder of melanoma research. There are 34 awards that will support research at 27 institutions in seven countries. These awards support innovative ideas to improve outcomes for patients facing melanoma and provide critical funding to address urgent unmet needs in melanoma. Each award was selected by MRA’s Grant Review Committee through a rigorous peer review process and confirmed by the MRA Board of Directors.

As Chief of the Melanoma Service in the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Dr. Postow oversees the ongoing strategic goals of the Melanoma Service to expand the clinical and research programs and activities in melanoma. His research on melanoma led to the development of a treatment combination of nivolumab (Opdivo®) and ipilimumab (Yervoy®) that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2015 and was subsequently selected by the American Society of Clinical Oncology as a major scientific advance in melanoma care.

Several MSK Trainees Named 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting Merit Award Recipients

Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, announced the recipients of its 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting Merit Awards. These distinguished awards support oncology trainees who are first authors on abstracts selected for presentation at the ASCO Annual Meeting. This year, Conquer Cancer will recognize 164 recipients with Merit Awards, including 10 from MSK. These oncology professionals are recognized for their respective field and research advancements within the cancer-care community.

Recipients from MSK include: Joseph Chan, PhD, Thoracic Oncology Fellow in the Dana Pe’er Lab; Neil Ari Wijetunga, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncology Resident; Noura J. Choudhury, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Brendan John Guercio, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Justin Jee, MD, PhD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Melissa Lumish, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Jia Luo, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Yonina Murciano-Goroff, MSc, DPhil, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellow; Kathryn Ries Tringale, MD, MS, Radiation Oncology Resident; and Hong Truong, MD, Urologic Oncology Fellow in the David Solit Lab.

Michael Offin Receives the International Mesothelioma Interest Group 2021 Young Investigator Award

Michael Offin

Michael D. Offin, MD, is a recipient of an International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) 2021 Young Investigator Award. He was recognized with this award during iMig’s virtual meeting held May 7 to 9, 2021. iMig is an independent international group of scientists and clinicians working to understand, cure, and prevent mesothelioma.

Dr. Offin is a board-certified medical oncologist dedicated to caring for people with lung cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, and mesothelioma. His research focuses on using laboratory findings to design clinical trials that further the care of his patients.

Julia Brunner Receives the 2021 Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship

Julia Brunner

Julia Brunner, PhD, Research Fellow in the Lydia Finley Lab at the Sloan Kettering Institute, is the recipient of the 2021 Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Fellowship. The HFSP fellowship program funds innovative, groundbreaking projects that have the potential to advance knowledge in the applicant’s field of study or open a new approach to a research problem. HFSP funds research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms, with a focus on the support of early career scientists.

Dr. Brunner was awarded a three-year postdoctoral HFSP Fellowship for her project titled “Identifying metabolic drivers of antitumor immunity.” She was in the top 9% of applicants to the program this year, which is a significant accomplishment in an international competition with a rigorous selection process.

HFSP is an international program of research support implemented by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization based in Strasbourg, France. Its aims are to promote intercontinental collaboration and training in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research focused on the life sciences.

Two MSK Researchers Awarded Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation 2021 Quantitative Biology Fellows Grants

Tin Yi Chu and Esther Wershof

Tin Yi Chu, PhD, and Esther Wershof, PhD, both postdoctoral researchers in the Dana Pe’er Lab, received Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation 2021 Quantitative Biology Fellows Grants. This three-year award was created to encourage quantitative scientists to pursue careers in cancer research. Each fellow will receive financial compensation to train under the joint mentorship of an established computational scientist and a cancer biologist. Dr. Chu’s mentors are Dana Pe’er, PhD, and Elaine Fuchs, PhD. Dr. Weshof’s mentors are Dr. Pe’er and Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, PhD.

Dr. Chu aims to develop a statistical framework to infer how different cell types interact with each other based on spatial transcriptomics data. He will use this statistical framework to study cell-cell interactions in both colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Dr. Wershof is using 3D biological data to study the architecture of different cells and genes interacting with each other in 3D space. The goal is to derive the spatial rules that drive lung formation, which will be key to the understanding of lung tumorigenesis.

Melody Smith Awarded V Foundation for Cancer Research V Scholar Grant

Melody Smith

Hematologic oncologist Melody Smith, MD, MS, is a recipient of the V Foundation for Cancer Research V Scholar Grant funded by the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. This grant opportunity is specifically for researchers from the Black/African American community, a group that is underrepresented in scientific research. The V Scholar Grant supports early tenure-track faculty by funding a range of projects.

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on improving allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplants to decrease cancer relapse without side effects, such as graft versus host disease or graft rejection.

MSK Nursing Staff Honored with 2021 Oncology Nursing Society Awards

Jennifer Fox and Eleni Kalandranis

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) awarded both Jennifer Fox, RN, MSN, OCN, and Janice Reid, MA, RN, NPD-BC, OCN, with its 2021 Excellence in Clinical Practice Award. The award recognizes excellence in clinical practice.

Eleni Kalandranis, MSN, RN, OCN®, CMSRN, received the 2021 ONS Pearl Moore “Making a Difference” Emerging Leader Award, and the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Swab Team received the ONS Pearl Moore “Making a Difference” Team Achievement Award. The Pearl Moore “Making a Difference” Awards recognize individuals and teams who go the extra mile to impact the lives of patients with cancer and their families. The awards are named for Pearl Moore, the first Executive Director and CEO of ONS. During her widely respected tenure, she inspired and mentored countless oncology nurses to provide unbeatable care and advocate for patients and their caregivers.

Several MSK Researchers Awarded National Cancer Institute (NCI) Grants

Changyu Zhu, Simon Schwörer, Elizabeth Wasmuth, Marc Williams, and Linde Miles

Several MSK researchers were awarded with grants from the NCI: Changyu Zhu, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Scott Lowe Lab, received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows for his research, “The role and regulation of p53 in obesity-induced liver cancer.” Simon Schwörer, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Craig Thompson Lab, received the Pathway to Independence Award for his research, “Investigating the metabolic regulation of tumor desmoplasia.” Elizabeth Wasmuth, PhD, Research Scholar in the Charles Sawyers Lab, received the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity for her research, “Biochemical, structural and molecular dissection of androgen receptor transcriptional activity.” Marc Williams, PhD, Research Fellow in the Sohrab Shah Lab, received the Pathway to Independence Award for his research, “Single cell quantification of genomic instability in cancer as a determinant of therapeutic response.” Linde Miles, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Ross Levine Lab, received the Pathway to Independence Award for her research, “Dissecting the role of clonal evolution in NPM1-mutant AML.”

MSK COVID-19 Lab Testing Team Honored with the United Hospital Fund 2021 Excellence in Health Care Award for Quality Improvement Champions

MSK flag

The MSK COVID-19 Lab Testing Team was honored by the United Hospital Fund (UHF) with the 2021 Excellence in Health Care Award for Quality Improvement Champions at its third annual Tribute to Excellence in Health Care event, held virtually on May 3, 2021. The Excellence in Health Care Award for Quality Improvement Champions was established by UHF in 2019. UHF recognizes healthcare organizations across the New York City metropolitan area that focus their efforts on improving quality of care, patient safety, and patient experience. This year, the Excellence in Health Care Award was given to organizations that demonstrated leadership in responding to COVID-19 or addressing healthcare disparities.

The MSK COVID-19 Lab Testing Team was among 73 honorees chosen from 69 healthcare organizations. The team was recognized for their essential and significant work in quickly producing one of the first lab-developed COVID-19 PCR tests in New York State at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of waiting for a commercial test to become available, the Department of Laboratory Medicine created the COVID-19 test, which then received FDA approval.

MSK Ranks in Top 20 on Forbes’ List of America’s Best Employers for Diversity

Forbes has named MSK one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, ranking the organization #17 out of 500 companies and the second highest hospital. It’s MSK’s second year on the fourth annual list.

Forbes partnered with a market research firm to survey 50,000 Americans working for companies with more than 1,000 employees to identify organizations that are most committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They also considered the diversity of an organization’s leaders and executives as well as its equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) initiatives, among other factors.

For several years, MSK has put an increased focus on bringing its ED&I values to life, including introducing mandatory ED&I learning programs and workshops organization-wide, creating new departments and leadership roles to advance ED&I goals, and growing employee councils to ensure everyone has a voice and a seat at the table.

MSK Awarded CIO 2021 FutureEdge 50 Award

The FutureEdge 50 Awards recognize organizations pushing the edge with new technologies to advance their business for the future. This year’s award winners will be celebrated at CIO’s Future of Work Summit taking place online September 21 to 23, 2021. CIO is the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership.

Innovations in this year’s class include a wide variety of technologies advancing organizations across many industries. Complex data aggregation initiatives with artificial intelligence and machine learning supported diverse outcomes, such as disease tracking, vehicle diagnostics, and computer repair. Winners improved products and services through the adoption of edge computing and supply chain efforts with internet of things (IoT). Additionally, organizations have been innovative in their use of AR/VR in manufacturing, training and education, and use of voice-activated applications in healthcare for clinicians and patients.