Two Dana-Farber faculty members receive prestigious award from the National Institutes of Health

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Two Dana-Farber Cancer Institute physician scientists are being recognized today by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) for their considerable contributions to cancer research and care. Eliezer M. Van Allen, MD, and Nikhil Wagle, MD, have been awarded the Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists.

Van Allen received the Trailblazer Prize for his many contributions to developing the science of personalized cancer care. Using innovative computational approaches, his research is helping to determine the impact of both inherited and environmental factors on cancer and the influence of genes on an individual’s response to cancer treatment. Van Allen is Chief of the Division of Population Sciences at Dana-Farber, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School,  Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a medical oncologist.

Wagle received the Trailblazer Prize for developing novel gene sequencing approaches to profiling cancer mutations that affect treatment response and drug resistance. In addition, he directs Count Me In, an innovative partnership between patients and researchers that empowers patients to actively participate in cancer research and speed the discovery of new treatments.  Wagle is also an oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Dana-Farber, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an Institute Member of the Broad.

Now in its fifth year, the Trailblazer Prize recognizes the outstanding contributions of early career clinician-scientists whose research translates basic scientific observations into new paradigm-shifting  approaches for diagnosing, preventing, treating, or curing disease and disability.

“I am thrilled to watch clinician-scientists, such as Drs. Van Allen and Wagle, combine their expertise in medical oncology, genomics, and computational biology to find therapeutic solutions that directly translate to better lives for cancer patients. We applaud them for their trailblazing work bringing us closer to more personalized and effective cancer therapies,” said Steven M. Paul, MD, Chairman of the Board, FNIH.

The Trailblazer Prize, and a $5,000 honorarium, will be presented to Van Allen and Wagle at the 2022 FNIH Awards Ceremony the evening of October 19, 2022.

“I am honored to receive this award from the FNIH, and especially grateful to the members of my lab, along with my mentors, colleagues, and friends who are championing the drive for new discoveries to advance cancer care. I am excited to continue exploring new avenues of clinical computational oncology for precision cancer medicine,” said Van Allen.

“Receiving this prestigious award from the FNIH is an honor. I share this recognition with my colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute, and with the many patients whose partnership has been critical to making these advances in translational medicine and precision oncology,” said Wagle.

A jury of distinguished biomedical research leaders selected Van Allen and Wagle as the 2022 Trailblazer Prize recipients. Michael J. Welsh, MD, PhD, Director, Pappajohn Biomedical Institute, University of Iowa, served as Chair of the Trailblazer Prize jury, alongside the following members:

For more information about the Trailblazer Prize, visit

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