Public Release: 

Sidney Kimmel Foundation concludes cancer research grant program with final recipients

Sidney Kimmel Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(April 19, 2017)--After two decades and just under 300 award winners, The Sidney Kimmel Foundation has selected the final 15 research scientists and medical doctors from across the U.S. to receive two-year grants totaling $200,000 each as part of the prestigious Kimmel Scholars Program. Over the 20 years, more than $65 million has been committed to this Program by the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research.

The Program comes to a close as the Foundation has achieved its goal of opening pathways for young investigators; today there are numerous programs making similar awards. The Kimmel Foundation has determined to focus on new frontiers, as demonstrated by its recent additive gift to Johns Hopkins to establish the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Immunotherapy at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center there.

Begun in 1997, the Program was designed to jumpstart the careers of the most promising and creative researchers and physician-scientists seeking solutions to the riddle of cancer. Over the two decades, the Program has contributed some of the most successful members of the next generation, or maybe two, of the nation's leading cancer researchers. To qualify, grantees must demonstrate great promise and innovation in their work, be in the early stages of their research careers, and have yet to receive a major grant from the National Institutes of Health or other funding sources.

Sidney Kimmel, the organization's namesake, founder of The Jones Group Inc., and president of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, has met each year with the Foundation's Medical Advisory Board as this group of leading cancer doctors makes its selections from approximately 150 applicants. The Medical Advisory Board, comprised of 14 renowned cancer doctors and scientists, has selected 15 Kimmel Scholars each year on the basis of potential impact their research efforts might have in advancing the possibility of a cure for cancer.

Grant recipients often cite early funding from the Kimmel Foundation as a catalyst for their success. Many of the exceptional young scientists who have their careers jumpstarted by Kimmel Scholar Awards go on to receive millions of dollars in funding from the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health and make significant contributions to the field of cancer research.

The Foundation is particularly interested in helping physicians who are engaged in research that can rapidly be translated into benefits for patients with cancer. Translational research involves moving knowledge and discovery gained from the basic sciences to its application in clinical and community settings. This year, five of the 15 awards have been designated for such "Translational Research" and are noted with an asterisk.

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation 2017 Kimmel Scholar Award recipients are:

Sean Collins, PhD
University of California, Davis
"Rewiring leukocyte chemotaxis signaling for therapeutic application"

Meelad Dawlaty, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
"Epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic malignancies by Tet enzymes"

*Shadmehr Demeheri, MD, PhD
Massachussetts General Hospital
"Mechanism of CD4+ T-cell immunity against skin cancer precursors"

Hani Goodarzi, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
"Pathological reprogramming of alternative splicint in breast cancer metastasis"

Taran Gujral, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
"Role of non-canonical Wnt signaling pathway in the tumor microenvironment"

Ralph Kleiner, PhD
Princeton University
"Chemical approaches to investigate RNA modifications in cancer progression and therapy"

*Byron Lee, MD, PhD
Cleveland Clinic
"Ascertaining the functional consequences of chromatin modifier gene mutations in bladder cancer"

*Carolyn Lee, MD, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
"Discovery and functional characterization of novel genetic drivers in skin cancer"*

Shixin Liu, PhD
The Rockefeller University
"Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the dynamic changes in the epigenetic landscape mediated by oncogenic histone mutations"

*Joseph Mancias, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"Targeting pancreatic cancer metabolism: defining metabolic drivers and mechanisms of resistance to metabolic inhibition using quantitative proteomics"

Neville Sanjana, PhD
New York Genome Center
"Essential genes for cancer immunotherapy"

Bjoern Schwer, MD, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
"Origins of brain cancer: Elucidating mechanisms that fuel genomic instability and tumorigenesis in neural stem/progenitor cells"

Arvind Subramaniam, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
"Quantitative profiling of synonymous mutation effects in cancer cells"

*Cullen Taniguchi, MD, PhD
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Improving the therapeutic ratio of pancreatic cancer treatments with cytoprotective EGLN inhibitors"

Eric Tran, PhD
Earle A. Chiles Research Institute
Providence Cancer Center
"Investigating and harnessing the T-cell response against mutated neoantigens in patients with epithelial cancers"

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*Translational

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation is focused on making contributions at moments and in places of great impact and possibility--particularly in the areas of medicine, cancer research, Jewish continuity, and Philadelphia. Since the early 1990s, Sidney Kimmel has contributed more than $850 million in support of these causes, with cancer centers, a medical school, a performing arts center and more bearing his name.

For more information, visit http://www.kimmel.org.

CONTACT: Bridget Kulik, bkulik@sage-communications.com, 215-209-3077.

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