Photo grid of award recipients

Honoring Columbia’s Leading Young Investigators in Cancer Research

June 3, 2021

Conquer Cancer and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Foundation have recognized seven leading young investigators at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) for their outstanding research in several areas across cancer care, including immunotherapy, precision medicine, and breast cancer.

The recipients will be honored at the ASCO Annual Meeting held virtually June 4 to 8. This year, Conquer Cancer is funding the greatest number of Young Investigator Awards ever and the most Career Development Awards in the past 15 years. 

Congratulations to the following award recipients: 

 

Career Development Award
The three-year grant funds clinical investigators who have received their initial faculty appointment and are working to establish an independent, patient-focused, clinical cancer research program. 

Alexander Melamed, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology
Stephen A. Cannistra, MD, Career Development Award in Gynecologic Cancers for “Minimally Invasive Surgery for Ovarian Cancer” 


Young Investigator Award
The YIA grant supports pre-clinical and clinical cancer research projects by oncologists who are undergoing a career transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment. This year, 95 investigators will receive YIAs, the most Conquer Cancer has ever awarded.     

Rohan Maniar, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine
“Promoting Self-Renewal of CD8+ T Cells to Overcome Immunotherapy Resistance”

Julia McGuinness, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine
Marc L. Citron, MD, Young Investigator Award in Breast Cancer for “Use of a Convolutional Neural Network-based Mammographic Evaluation to Assess Response to Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy Among Women with Early-stage Breast Cancer”

Yoanna Pumpalova, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine 
“The Impact of HIV and Other Factors on Survival Among Women with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in South Africa”

Winston Wong, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine
Shanken Family Foundation Young Investigator Award for “Evaluating the Immune Modulatory Effects of Combination MEK and Autophagy Inhibition in KRAS Mutated Pancreas Cancer via an Autologous Patient Derived T-cell and Organoid Model System”


ASCO Merit Award
The Merit Awards are given to a limited number of fellows and oncology trainees whose research is addressed in high-quality abstracts submitted to an ASCO Meeting and recognized for its scientific merit.

Morgan Lichtenstein, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine 
“Factors Associated with Time to Receipt of Oral Anti-Cancer Drugs”

Julia McGuinness, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine
“Use of a Convolutional Neural Network-based Mammographic Evaluation to Assess Response to Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy Among Women with Early-stage Breast Cancer”

Jay Oza, MD, PhD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine
“A Phase 2 Trial of Sitravatinib, a Multi-receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, in Patients with Advanced Well-differentiated/De-differentiated Liposarcoma”

Yoanna Pumpalova, MD, postdoctoral clinical fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine 
“The Impact of HIV infection on overall survival among women with stage IV breast cancer in South Africa”

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