Sloan Kettering Institute Researchers Named 2021 Kravis Women in Science Endeavor Fellowship Grant Recipients

Ms. Regina Bou Puerto and Mijin Kim, PhD

Ms. Regina Bou Puerto and Mijin Kim, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announced that Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) researchers Regina Bou Puerto and Mijin Kim, PhD, have been named 2021 Marie-Josée Kravis Women in Science Endeavor (Kravis WiSE) fellowship grant recipients. The Kravis WiSE initiative, created in 2020, provides sustained funding for scientific trainees as well as mentoring and significant professional development for women pursuing careers in biomedical research at MSK. The Kravis WiSE Symposium is held every year during Women’s History Month in March. This event hosts scientific leaders from MSK and other institutions. Ms. Bou Puerto and Dr. Kim will be recognized and present their work at the second annual Kravis WiSE Symposium held virtually Wednesday, March 17, at ET.

MSK has long recognized the vital importance of recruiting and supporting top female scientists. Today at MSK, women are represented in all levels of leadership within the organization and conduct a wide range of clinical and laboratory research. Despite this progress, more needs to be done to close the gender gap that exists in research and career opportunities. Kravis WiSE provides essential and sustained funding for trainees, as well as mentoring and professional development to women pursuing careers in biomedical research at MSK. This program will help ensure that talented MSK female scientists reach their greatest potential in their pursuit of scientific excellence. 

“We are thrilled to have two scientific trailblazers as this year’s Kravis WiSE fellowship grant recipients. When we look at the progress made in scientific disciplines, we have long benefited from the significant contributions that have been made by women,” said Ushma Neill, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Education and Training. “Kravis WiSE celebrates the phenomenal power that women bring to the scientific community and heightens the awareness of impactful female researchers that will undoubtably lead and propel scientific advances forward.”  

About the 2021 Fellowship Grant Recipients

Regina Bou Puerto is the recipient of the Kravis WiSE Graduate Student fellowship. The Kravis WiSE Graduate fellowship provides a three-year stipend and additional benefits to a female graduate student chosen by a faculty committee through a competitive review process.

Ms. Bou Puerto’s research focuses on an immune molecule called interferon gamma, which is known to promote inflammation and play an important role in protecting us against viruses and cancer. Her research suggests that interferon gamma might also quell inflammation in some contexts and may therefore prevent harmful autoimmunity. She is a member of the Alexander Rudensky lab at SKI. 

“I am incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Kravis WiSE Graduate fellowship. Not only does this support the careers of young woman scientists, it also celebrates and recognizes the scientific and social contributions of women throughout history,” said Ms. Bou Puerto. “I look forward to following in the footsteps of pioneering women leaders that paved the way before me, and achieving this fellowship is a huge step toward that aim. I hope to bring important insights into the complex biology of immune interactions during neuroinflammation.”

Dr. Mijin Kim is the recipient of the Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral fellowship. The Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral fellowship provides a two-year stipend and additional benefits to a female postdoctoral researcher who has completed at least three years of postgraduate study and is chosen by a faculty committee through a competitive review process. Dr. Kim will present her work at the annual Kravis WiSE Symposium and, as a condition of the fellowship, must apply for a K99/R00 National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award to continue her research. Dr. Kim is a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular Pharmacology Program and a member of the Daniel Heller lab at SKI.

Dr. Kim developed a new sensor technology to detect high-grade serous carcinoma using patient serum through collecting large data sets of physicochemical interactions to a sensor array composed of organic color center-modified carbon nanotubes. This strategy, that has 95 percent specificity to disease identification, has the potential to widely impact current medical practice via providing an early diagnostic/prognostic indicator. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be named the recipient of the Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral fellowship,” said Dr. Kim. “Not only does this important award celebrate the work of female scientists, but the grant will also support my research to prepare for my independent academic career. If the proposed work is successful, the technology will significantly improve patient outcomes by detecting ovarian cancer at early stages, facilitate biomarker discovery efforts, and be easily adapted to other diseases.”

Recognizing Those Helping Drive Science Forward

The Kravis WiSE initiative is made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from Marie-Josée Kravis, Vice Chair of the MSK Board and Chair of the Sloan Kettering Institute Board, and Henry Kravis, Co-Founder, Co-Chairman, and Co-Chief Executive of KKR, who have a long history of supporting scientific research at MSK. MSK is deeply grateful to Kravises for their long-standing dedication to supporting science and scientists at MSK. 

To register for the 2021 Kravis WiSE Symposium, please visit here.