Three Yale Cancer Center researchers were awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through its High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program. The awards fund highly innovative and unusually impactful biomedical or behavioral research proposed by extraordinarily creative scientists. The Yale Cancer Center grants were among 93 awards totaling approximately $267 million over five years.
· Valentina Greco, Ph.D., Carolyn Walch Slayman Professor of Genetics, received a NIH Director’s Pioneer Award to support her project, “Defining the role of the mutational burden in healthy aging.” Established in 2004, the Pioneer Award challenges investigators at all career levels to pursue new research directions and develop groundbreaking, high-impact approaches to a broad area of biomedical, behavioral or social science.
· Mandar Deepak Muzumdar, M.D., Assistant Professor of Genetics and Medicine (Medical Oncology) and a member of the Cancer Biology Institute, and Noah Palm, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Immunobiology, each received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Muzumdar will use the funds to support his project, “Defining tumor cell and host adaptations in cancer progression” and Palm will investigate his proposal, “A forward chemical genetic screen to illuminate the dark matter of the bioactive microbiota metabolome.” The Innovator Award was established in 2007 to support unusually innovative research by early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.
“Congratulations to all three of our outstanding scientists honored through the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program,” said Charles Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H., director of Yale Cancer Center and Physician-in-Chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital. “With these grants, the NIH recognizes that their work will have a significant impact on cancer treatment and care.”
The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting highly innovative research proposals that, due to their inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional peer review process despite their transformative potential. Program applicants are encouraged to think outside-the-box and to pursue trailblazing ideas in any area of research relevant to the NIH mission.