Six young scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical College have been named the inaugural winners of a new prize established to recognize postdoctoral investigators in the life sciences. The Tri-Institutional Breakout Awards for Junior Investigators, which include a $25,000 prize for each recipient, were established by three Tri-Institutional winners of the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Science — one from each of the three institutions — with additional financial support from the institutions themselves.
The seed money for the Breakout Awards came from three investigators—Charles L. Sawyers, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering; Cornelia I. Bargmann, PhD, of Rockefeller; and Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, of Weill Cornell—who each received a $3 million award from the 2013 Breakthrough Prize, which was established by a group of well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Beginning this year, Breakout Awards will be given annually to between three and six outstanding postdoctoral trainees, with one prize given to an applicant from each of the three founding institutions and additional awards made to the best candidates, regardless of affiliation. A committee containing faculty members from each of the institutions selects awardees on the basis of their past research accomplishments, the impact of their science, and the likelihood of their future success as independent investigators. The contributing Breakthrough Prize winners were not involved in the selection of the winning postdocs.
2015 Breakout Recipients (Oncology-Focused)
Hani Goodarzi, PhD, Rockefeller University Dr. Goodarzi is using an algorithm he developed during his doctoral research at Princeton University to scan both the sequence and shape of RNA molecules in breast cancer cells, leading to the discovery of a post-transcriptional network that regulates metastasis.
Julian Lange, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Lange has pioneered novel methods for studying recombination in the creation of egg and sperm cells in mice. In his recent work, he has uncovered how meiotic cells regulate the distribution of DNA damage.
Costas Lyssiotis, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College Dr. Lyssiotis investigates the biochemical pathways and metabolic requirements that enable pancreatic tumor growth, and is translating discoveries into the development of targeted therapies.
The other three recipients are Ziv Shulman, PhD (Rockefeller); Jing Yang, PhD (Rockefeller); and Dilek Colak, PhD (Weill Cornell).
For more information about the Tri-Institutional Breakout Awards, visit https://breakthroughprize.org/Prize/2. ■