Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of Dana-Farber awarded 2023 Paul Marks Prize for cancer research

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The biennial prize recognizes a new generation of leaders in cancer research

Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been named a recipient of this year’s Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research. The award is presented biennially by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), recognizing a new generation of leaders in cancer research under the age of 50 who are making significant contributions to the understanding of cancer or are improving the treatment of the disease through basic or clinical research. The winners, who will evenly share an award of $150,000, will present their work at a lecture hosted by MSK in March 2024.

The winners of the 2023 Paul Marks Prize are Mark Agnel Frederick Dawson, MBBS, PhD, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia; Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

A committee of prominent members of the cancer research community — led by W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, MMHC, Chair of the Department of Medicine, Physician-in-Chief, and a professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center — selected the winners.

About the Recipients

Mark Agnel Frederick Dawson, MBBS, PhD, is a professor at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia; the Sir Edward Dunlop Fellow for Cancer Council Victoria; an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council investigator; and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Research Scholar. He is a physician-scientist whose investigations have led to the development of a novel class of cancer drugs called epigenetic inhibitors for treating a range of cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia. Dr. Dawson earned his MBBS from the University of Melbourne and his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is the first Australian to win the Paul Marks Prize.

Cigall Kadoch, PhD, is an associate professor of pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an HHMI Investigator. Her work has centered on unraveling the mechanisms of large, highly intricate nuclear protein machines called BAF chromatin remodeling complexes, which are among the most frequently mutated entities in human cancer. Her work has led to new classes of drugs to correct abnormal gene expression caused by these defective complexes. Dr. Kadoch earned her PhD from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, is a professor of neurology and neurological sciences and a pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine and an HHMI Investigator. She studies cancers of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord, especially diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a lethal brain cancer in children. Her research seeks to understand how these cancers originate and what drives them, with the goal of ultimately developing better therapies. Her research has uncovered a critical role for the nervous system itself in the initiation, growth, and progression of these tumors, including the role of neuronal activity-regulated growth factor secretion and the formation of functional synapses between neurons and cancer cells. As a clinician, she has led early-phase clinical trials for young people with brain cancer. Dr. Monje earned her MD and PhD from Stanford.

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Cigall Kadoch, PhD; Mark Agnel Frederick Dawson, MBBS, PhD; and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD