Two Sloan Kettering Institute Researchers Named 2022 Kravis Women in Science Endeavor (WiSE) Fellowship Grant Recipients

Xiuzhen Chen (left), winner of the Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Brianna Naizir, winner of the Kravis WiSE Graduate Fellowship.

Xiuzhen Chen (left), winner of the Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Brianna Naizir, winner of the Kravis WiSE Graduate Fellowship.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is proud to announce that two Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) researchers have been named 2022 Marie-Josée Kravis Women in Science Endeavor (Kravis WiSE) fellowship grant recipients. 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. This year, Brianna Naizir and Xiuzhen Chen will be recognized and present their work at the third annual Kravis WiSE Symposium held Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at (Eastern time).

Kravis WiSE was created to promote gender equity in science by providing stable funding and professional support for women in science at MSK. In addition to funding for trainees, the initiative provides mentoring and professional development opportunities to females pursuing careers in biomedical research at MSK and to all scientists seeking childcare coverage when they travel to conferences. MSK is extremely grateful to Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis, whose financial generosity has enabled this programming. As Vice Chair of the MSK Board and Chair of the Sloan Kettering Institute Board, Mrs. Kravis has long been an advocate for supporting science and scientists at MSK.

“It is so inspiring to see and recognize the exceptional talent we have at MSK, especially as we honor Women’s History Month,” said Ushma Neill, PhD, Vice President, Scientific Education and Training. “This year’s symposium, featuring these stellar researchers and extraordinary speakers, highlights how critical it is that the scientific and medical communities expand opportunities for women at all levels and in all endeavors. We all benefit when we are all welcomed to the table.”

About the 2022 Fellowship Grant Recipients

Brianna Naizir, the winner of the Kravis WiSE Graduate Fellowship, is a third-year PhD student in the Gerstner Sloan Kettering (GSK) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and a member of the Andrea Schietinger Laboratory. Ms. Naizir’s research focuses on the role of the transcription factor TOX in CD4 T cell differentiation and function. She will receive a three-year fellowship covering her stipend and additional benefits.

“Receiving this year’s graduate student fellowship is a huge honor and will surely support the progression of my project and independence as a scientist,” said Ms. Naizir. “As a passionate advocate for gender and racial inclusiveness in science, I am also thrilled to be recognized by an initiative whose goals align so closely with my own.”

Xiuzhen Chen, the winner of the Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral Fellowship, is a postdoctoral scholar in the Christine Mayr Laboratory. Dr. Chen discovered a new membraneless organelle that is formed by the RNA-binding protein FXR1 and generates a highly reticulated cytoplasmic network. This finding brings her closer to solving one of the big mysteries of molecular and biological functions of cells — how the subunits of protein complexes find each other in living cells. Dr. Chen will receive a two-year fellowship.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected as this year’s Kravis WiSE Postdoctoral Fellow,” said Dr. Chen. “This fellowship will allow me to focus on my research project for the next two years and complete my studies on the FXR1 network. I hope to provide new insights into how the dysregulation of RNA-binding proteins causes cancer.” 

Along with Ms. Naizir and Dr. Chen, this year’s Kravis WiSE Symposium will feature the following presenters:

  • Laurie Glimcher, MD, President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Erika Pearce, PhD, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Zallen, PhD, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute; Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

To learn more about the 2022 Kravis WiSE Symposium, please click here.