Today Sloan Kettering Institute’s (SKI) Alexander Gitlin, MD, PhD of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) was recognized as a winner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Early Independence Award. Dr. Gitlin was chosen for his outstanding work and proposal to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying inflammatory cell signaling in health and disease. In 2022, the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward (HRRH) Research program awarded 103 awards, including 14 Early Independence Awards.
Established in 2011, the Early Independence Award provides an opportunity to support exceptional junior scientists who have recently received their doctoral degrees or completed their medical residency to skip traditional post-doctoral training and move immediately into independent research positions. Recipients are awarded $1.25 million over 5 years.
The Alexander Gitlin Lab studies how inflammatory cell signaling controls the nature and magnitude of inflammation under physiological and disease conditions. Inflammation is a hallmark of many diseases, including cancer, autoinflammatory disorders, immunodeficiencies, and neurodegeneration; thus, understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating inflammation is critical to identifying opportunities for therapeutic intervention.
“I am delighted that Dr. Gitlin has been named an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award winner,” said SKI Director Joan Massagué, PhD. “He is an exemplary scientist, and I know that he will continue to develop new insights into inflammatory cell signaling.”
“The science advanced by these researchers is poised to blaze new paths of discovery in human health,” said Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD., who is performing the duties of the Director of NIH. “This unique cohort of scientists will transform what is known in the biological and behavioral world. We are privileged to support this innovative science.”
Dr. Gitlin received his MD from Weill Cornell Medicine (2017) and PhD in immunology from The Rockefeller University (2016). He is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund: Career Award for Medical Scientists (2022), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) K08: Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (2021), and the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award (2016).