Elham Azizi, PhD, Wins 2024 Innovators in Science Award from New York Academy of Sciences

December 12, 2023

Takeda and The New York Academy of Sciences announced the winners of the 2024 Innovators in Science Award for their excellence in, and commitment to,

Elham Azizi, PhD

innovative science that has significantly advanced the field of research in cancer immunology. Each winner receives an unrestricted prize of $200,000. 

The 2024 Early-Career Scientist winner is Elham Azizi, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and the Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cancer Data Research at Columbia University. Dr. Azizi is recognized for developing a suite of computational tools and models using artificial intelligence and machine learning to characterize immune profiles in the tumor microenvironment. Her novel machine learning algorithms are applied to data from genomic and imaging technologies, guiding improved and personalized cancer therapies.  

“This award is a significant recognition of our efforts to push the boundaries of cancer immunology through innovations in statistical machine learning,” said Dr. Azizi. “The Innovators in Science Award motivates me, my team and the broader community to continue on the path of blending multiple fields to find creative cancer immunology solutions. This award will allow me and my team to forge new collaborations and explore high-risk and ambitious directions in our mission to help patients.” 

Dr. Azizi’s work has helped identify immune components involved in anti-tumor responses and characterize immune states that promote tumor progression and response to immunotherapy. Her innovative models have identified, for the first time, determinants of immunotherapy response in leukemia. 

“Dr. Azizi’s groundbreaking and multi-disciplinary approach to cancer research is inspirational,” says Anil K. Rustgi, MD, director of Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Dr. Azizi is a member of the Precision Oncology and Systems Biology research program. “Her work has the potential for a far-reaching impact on the field of cancer research and ultimately the lives of cancer patients and their families.”  

Simon Tavaré, PhD, director of the Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics, also praised Dr. Azizi for building such a successful research team, and for her mentoring of students at all levels. 

The 2024 winners will be honored at the Innovators in Science Award ceremony and symposium in April 2024 in Boston.  

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Read the full press release here.