Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Announces New Early-Career Physician Research Program in Cancer Science

Phillip Rappold

Phillip Rappold, RCC Urology Fellow in The David Solit Lab, works in the lab.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced a $25 million gift from Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. to create the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Physician Scholars Program. Designed to support the innovative research of physician-scientists who are early in their career at MSK, the Gerstner Physician Scholars Program will advance promising scientific research and further the careers of outstanding junior faculty.

Lisa DeAngelis

Lisa DeAngelis

“Recruiting and retaining the next generation of physician-scientists in cancer research is one of our most urgent priorities,” said Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD, MSK’s Physician-In-Chief. “We are grateful for Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.’s generous donation and continued commitment to education that will help MSK attract, support and champion talented early-career physician-scientists who will make discoveries and pursue the increasingly complex questions posed by cancer science.”

Each year, a group of MSK physician-scientists will be named Gerstner Physician Scholars and receive the resources needed to validate their emerging research concepts and translate these concepts into clinical applications. The program will support early career lab-based physician-scientists, a subset of physicians who are uniquely positioned to blend clinical care with laboratory research. The chosen Scholars will be eligible to receive funding of up to $150,000 per year for three years to advance their work, recruit talented junior lab members and develop preliminary data in ambitious projects that can provide the basis for applications to other outside sources for further funding. After this period, they will be eligible to receive additional support open to all MSK faculty to continue their research. To help guide the program and provide a clear sense of direction, MSK will form a multidisciplinary selection committee under the leadership of Dr. DeAngelis. 

Monika Shah

Monika Shah

“The 21st century has seen accelerating progress in biomedical technology, making translational research extremely complex and scientific training more challenging and important than ever before,” said Monika Shah, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist and Deputy Physician-In-Chief, Education and Faculty Affairs at MSK. “The development of the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Physician Scholars Program is critically important to address the shortfall of cancer subspecialists who are highly trained as experts in both clinical care and scientific research, and who can translate their findings from the bench to the bedside, and back. During their time as Gerstner Physician Scholars and throughout their future careers, these Scholars will achieve scientific and clinical breakthroughs that will improve the lives of cancer patients around the world.”

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. is a long-serving member of MSK’s Board of Trustees and the Chairman of the Board of MSK’s Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK), which boasts a network of nearly 100 successful alumni. With his generous financial support, MSK established GSK in 2004 to educate the next generation of basic research pioneers and to position MSK as a premier training ground in cancer biology. The Gerstner Physician Scholars Program is a distinct complement to GSK and a hallmark of Mr. Gerstner’s lifelong commitment to education.

“Throughout my service on the Board of Memorial Sloan Kettering, I have seen firsthand the importance of educating and supporting the next generation of talent in cancer research,” said Gerstner. “Through the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Physician Scholars Program, we are honored to provide an annual cohort of Gerstner Scholars with the financial resources – or ‘bridge funding’ – to support their work and build the foundation needed to create momentum and gain access to other funding sources. I am confident these bright physician-scientists will make groundbreaking discoveries in cancer research this next decade, and it’s a privilege to support them at this early stage in their careers.”

About Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK):

As the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has devoted more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, influential educational programs, and innovative research to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control and, ultimately, cure cancer. MSK is home to more than 20,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. Today, we are one of 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science and technology supporting groundbreaking clinical studies, personalized treatment, and compassionate care for our patients. We also train the next generation of clinical and scientific leaders in oncology through our continually evolving educational programs, here and around the world. Year after year, we are ranked among the top two cancer hospitals in the country, consistently recognized for our expertise in adult and pediatric oncology specialties.

About Gerstner Philanthropies

Gerstner Philanthropies was founded by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. and includes the Gerstner Family Foundation, founded in 1989, and other philanthropic vehicles of Mr. Gerstner and his family. Focused on supporting organizations across three major program areas—biomedical research, educational opportunities, and assistance for people who have suffered a temporary setback and could use a “helping hand” to restore their equilibrium—Gerstner Philanthropies has made over $180 million in grants since inception.