MSK Physician-Scientists Recognized with Top Honors by AACR, ASCO, and ASH Organizations

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announces the following awards and honors to our staff, given by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) organizations:

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Recognizes Several MSK Physician-Scientists

Charles Sawyers, MD, Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program and Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair, was named President-Elect for 2020-2021 by the Fellows of the AACR. He will assume the presidency during the 2021 AACR Annual Meeting. As the AACR Academy President-Elect, Dr. Sawyers will work with the other members of the AACR Academy’s Steering Committee and other elected Fellows of the AACR Academy to provide ongoing advice and counsel to the AACR leadership on various scientific topics.

Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD, Lloyd J. Old/Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation, Chief of the Immuno-Oncology Service, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MSK; and Associate Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, was named a recipient of the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research. He will be recognized at the AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2020 II from June 22-24.

Marc Ladanyi, MD, Chief of the Molecular Diagnostics Service, Member of the Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program, and Attending Pathologist; and Cameron Brennan, MD, Attending Neurosurgeon and neuro-oncology researcher, were named among the recipients of the 2020 AACR Team Science Awards. They were recognized for their major contributions to the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Pilot project (which ran from 2006 to 2010), an initiative between the National Cancer Institute, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and multiple groups across the U.S. that was the precursor to the full TCGA project. The TCGA Pilot project established an infrastructure and a model for the comprehensive genomic characterization of the major human cancers, and together with the full TCGA project that followed it, the Pilot provided an invaluable resource for cancer researchers worldwide, enabling ongoing advances in diverse cancers.

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, was named a recipient of the 2020 AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research. He is being recognized for pioneering novel applications of cancer genomics and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for early cancer detection as well as prognosis and recurrence prediction, and for his groundbreaking work involving immune checkpoint blockade in DNA mismatch repair-deficient (MMR-deficient) tumors.

Maria Jasin, PhD, Member at Sloan Kettering Institute in the Developmental Biology Program, was elected to the 2020 class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. Candidates whose work has had a significant and enduring impact on cancer research are nominated for election in the AACR Academy. Dr. Jasin was recognized for illuminating the role of homologous recombination in maintaining genetic stability, demonstrating the crucial role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in facilitating such genetic events, and proving that BRCA2 loss leads to replication stress to promote tumorigenesis. 


Roberta Zappasodi and Jenny Yaohua Xue Receive 2020 AACR Women in Cancer Research Awards

Roberta Zappasodi, PhD and Jenny Yaohua Xue, BS

Roberta Zappasodi, PhD and Jenny Yaohua Xue, BS

Roberta Zappasodi, PhD, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Bridge Scholar, former postdoctoral fellow, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine; and Jenny Yaohua Xue, BS, Tri-Institutional MD/PhD student, received 2020 Women in Cancer Research Awards from the AACR. The awards are given to female scientists-in-training who are also presenters of meritorious scientific papers at AACR Annual Meetings. They will be recognized and will present poster sessions at the AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2020 II from June 22-24.


Anna Lee Receives Allen S. Lichter Endowed Merit Award from American Society of Clinical Oncology

Anna Lee, MD, MPH

Anna Lee, MD, MPH

Anna Lee, MD, MPH, Proton Therapy Fellow in Radiation Oncology, received the Allen S. Lichter, MD, Endowed Merit Award for the second-highest ranking abstract overall from the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation.

Special Merit Awards are presented each year to trainees and junior faculty who have the top-ranking abstracts for the ASCO Annual Meeting. Dr. Lee was one of five recipients of the ASCO Special Merit Awards.


Timothy Clinton, Leslie Modlin, and Mira Patel Receive 2020 Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Awards from American Society of Clinical Oncology

Timothy Clinton, MD, MPH, Leslie Modlin, MD, and Mira Patel, MD

Timothy Clinton, MD, MPH, Leslie Modlin, MD, and Mira Patel, MD

Timothy Clinton, MD, MPH, a urologic oncology fellow, received a 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium Merit Award from the Conquer Cancer ASCO Foundation. This award recognizes the quality and scientific merit of research submitted by early-career oncology fellows and trainees to an ASCO-sponsored or cosponsored meeting. 

Leslie Modlin, MD, and Mira Patel, MD, residents in Radiation Oncology, received the 2020 Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award from ASCO. Drs. Modlin and Patel were two of 104 recipients of the Merit awards. They were recognized for their respective fields and research advancements within the cancer care community.


Francesco Maura Receives 2020 American Society of Hematology Clinical Fellow Scholar Award

Francesco Maura, MD

Francesco Maura, MD

Francesco Maura, MD, Assistant Attending and Co-Principal Investigator in Ora Landgren’s lab, was named a recipient of the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical Fellow Scholar Award. He is one of 39 recipients of the award and he received $100,000 in funding for his research. 

The ASH Scholars program funds hematologists in the United States and Canada who conduct basic, translational, and clinical research that furthers the understanding and treatment of blood disorders.