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The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance announced seven winners of the third annual Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research. Each will receive $200,000 in funding per year for up to three years to enable them to continue to pursue explorative and high-risk/high-reward research. Due to the number of high-caliber applicants, in addition to six winners fully funded by the Alliance, this year marks the formation of a unique partnership with The New York Community Trust, which will support a seventh prize winner.


"We are pleased to announce our third cohort of the Pershing Square Sohn Prize winners," said Bill Ackman, co-founder of The Pershing Square Foundation and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. "We formed this prize to enable talented scientists to pursue bold research at a critical time in their careers. We are extremely pleased with the network the Pershing Square Sohn Prize has created and hope through collaboration we can accelerate the potential for a cure."

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The Pershing Square Sohn Prize will enable each exemplary recipient to pursue groundbreaking research at a stage where traditional funding is often lacking. With this support, the Alliance continues to identify and support future leaders and innovators who can accelerate the potential for cures. The funding will permit continued work in the search for new therapeutic avenues on cancer treatment and eradication. Specific areas of study include genetic alterations in malignant cells, treatment options for radioresistant cancers, and the creation of a new technique to scan proteins.


"The Sohn Conference Foundation has a long history of supporting those who aim to find an end to the plague of cancer," said Evan Sohn, Vice President of the Sohn Conference Foundation. "In recent years, the science community has made notable progress in this journey for a cure, although much work still remains. This prize ensures that our most talented minds are able to pursue their life altering work as they continue the fight against cancer's relentless assault on our global community."


Following are the 2016 winners:


* Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Abdel-Wahab's research focuses on the identification of novel transcripts, pathways, and therapeutic strategies to target spliceosomal-mutant malignancies in leukemias.


* Uttiya Basu, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center: Basu's research focuses on infections disease induced DNA alterations in B cell malignancies. The goal is to develop antibody mediated-therapy for B cell lymphomas.


* Christopher Mason, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College: A finalist in last year's prize, Mason's research focuses on using new computational and biochemical methods to target and re-program specific sites of epigenetic aggressiveness in acute myeloid leukemia patients.


* Agnel Sfeir, PhD, NYU School of Medicine: Sfeir's research focuses on identifying the molecular players in the chromosome biology of breast cancers. The goal is to uncover the mechanistic basis of DNA double-strand pathway repairs and reduce the initiation, progression, and drug resistance of cancers.


* Samuel Sidi, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: Sidi's research focuses on genetic mutations in tumors and the creation of the first viable treatment options for patients with radioresistant cancer. He is being funded through the partnership with The New York Community Trust, which has several permanent funds dedicated to cancer research. The Trust targets them to support innovative, early-career researchers at New York institutions. It will use two funds, the Carol and Charles Spaeth Memorial Fund and the Traer Fund, to support one of the Pershing Square Sohn Young Investigator Awards.


* Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: A finalist in last year's prize, Vakoc research employs a novel CRISPR technique for 'scanning' proteins that reveals the key molecular details for how they can cause a cancer, which may guide the development of next generation cancer therapies.


* Andrea Ventura, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Ventura's research applies new genome-editing technologies to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying lung cancer initiation and progression to help model and possibly overcome acquired resistance to targeted anti-cancer therapies in multiple forms of cancer.



"Once again, the quality of this year's applicant pool was truly superlative and we continue to be deeply impressed with the research conducted by these young investigators as well as the spirit of collaboration among New York's life-sciences researchers and the institutions with whom they're working," said Olivia Tournay Flatto, President of the Pershing Square Foundation. "We are thrilled to name these newest researchers as Pershing Square Sohn Research Alliance Prize winners and look forward to witnessing the culmination of their efforts as they search for innovative and groundbreaking cures and treatments."

Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowOmar Abdel-Wahab, MD. Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD
Uttiya Basu, PhD. Ut... - Click to enlarge in new windowUttiya Basu, PhD. Uttiya Basu, PhD
Christopher Mason, P... - Click to enlarge in new windowChristopher Mason, PhD. Christopher Mason, PhD
Agnel Sfeir, PhD. Ag... - Click to enlarge in new windowAgnel Sfeir, PhD. Agnel Sfeir, PhD
Samuel Sidi, PhD. Sa... - Click to enlarge in new windowSamuel Sidi, PhD. Samuel Sidi, PhD

Formed in 2013, this highly competitive initiative was created by a $25 million alliance formed by The Pershing Square Foundation and The Sohn Conference Foundation to help bridge the gap between academia and the business community. The Pershing Square Sohn Prize is awarded to scientists based in New York City, a hub for a number of leading academic institutions, research facilities, and hospitals. To facilitate these collaborations, each prize winner is given a mentor in the pharmaceutical industry and the opportunity to present his or her work to scientific and business audiences. In the three years since its inception, the Alliance has already established itself as an innovator in the world of philanthropy due to its unique and exemplary methods of identifying talent and vetting potential candidates.

Christopher Vakoc, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowChristopher Vakoc, MD, PhD. Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD
Andrea Ventura, MD, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowAndrea Ventura, MD, PhD. Andrea Ventura, MD, PhD

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