Armstrong and Polyak honored with Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research


Scott Armstrong, MD, PhDScott Armstrong, MD, PhD 
Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhDKornelia Polyak, MD, PhD 

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has recognized two Dana-Farber Cancer Institute young investigators for innovative work that has helped to advance the field of cancer research.

Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, and Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, have been awarded the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, which is presented biennially by Memorial Sloan-Kettering to honor promising scientists under the age of 46. The honor is also being presented to Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The three winners will each receive an award of $50,000 and speak about their work at a public symposium to be held at Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Rockefeller Research Laboratories Auditorium in New York on Dec. 1, 2011.

Armstrong, who has a joint appointment at Dana-Farber and Children's Hospital Boston, is being recognized for his notable achievements in the fields of cancer stem cell research and genomics, which have led to landmark findings that point to potential new therapies for leukemia. Polyak has been selected for her pioneering genomic discoveries in normal and cancerous breast tissue and for her efforts to translate those findings into improved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

"It is important to encourage this new generation of talented scientists because they have a unique opportunity to help influence the future of cancer research and treatment," said Craig B. Thompson, MD, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "This year's winners have clearly taken full advantage of that opportunity early in their careers with outstanding records of clinically relevant research that has yielded a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of tumor formation and development."

The winners were selected by a committee made up of prominent members of the cancer research community and chaired by Stephen Goff, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"The insightful work of these dedicated investigators is characterized by scientific excellence, translational value, and lasting impact," he said. "The members of the selection committee are confident that they will continue to be major contributors in the field of cancer research for years to come."

Including this year's winners, a total of $850,000 has been awarded to 18 promising young scientists since 2001, when the prize was created to honor the many contributions made by distinguished scientist, teacher, and leader Paul A. Marks, MD, president emeritus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, during the 19 years he led the Center.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer. Our scientists and clinicians generate innovative approaches to better understand, diagnose, and treat cancer. Our specialists are leaders in biomedical research and in translating the latest research to advance the standard of cancer care worldwide. For more information, go to www.mskcc.org.

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