Daniel Schramek, a postdoctoral fellow in Elaine Fuchs’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, has received the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The national award, in its second year, is given to one postdoc and one graduate student annually, who each receive a $50,000 prize and a $5,000 donation to support seminars at their home institutions.
Students and postdocs are nominated by the deans of their institutions to submit a “dream” project in biomedical research that they would tackle given today’s technological limitations, but with limitless resources. Schramek proposed using sequence-based personalized medicine to treat the most devastating features of cancer — problems such as metastasis, drug resistance and dormancy — in patient-specific ways.
Schramek, who received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, joined Rockefeller in 2011 as an Emerald Foundation Young Investigator. Schramek is currently studying MYH9, a tumor suppressor gene that codes for a motor protein important in cell structure and migration. In a recent paper in Science, Schramek and his colleagues describe how MYH9 is mutated in many cancers and has implications especially for head and neck cancers.
Regeneron is a biopharmaceutical company based in Tarrytown, New York, that aims to develop medicines for diseases of high unmet medical need, including eye diseases, colorectal cancer and a rare inflammatory condition. The prize is designed to recognize excellence in biomedical science and to foster talented early-career scientists. Each institution may nominate two graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows. Ten finalists, selected by Regeneron scientists, are invited to tour the company’s facilities and meet with its staff.