Agnel Sfeir, PhD Among 7 Researchers to Receive Pershing Square Sohn Prize

Date: 
Wed, 05/11/2016 - 4:30pm

Agnel Sfeir, PhD, assistant professor at NYU Langone’s Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, is one of seven recipients of an innovative grant meant to accelerate discovery of new therapies for cancer. The Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research, established three years ago and open to investigators in the New York City–area, provides $200,000 in funding per year for up to three years to support high-risk, high-reward research.

“I’m very honored to receive this award and to be part of this esteemed group of early-stage investigators who are working towards understanding the basis of cancer and highlighting novel ways to treat this disease,” said Dr. Sfeir. “With support from the Pershing Square Sohn Prize, my lab and I will further identify the molecular players in breast cancer, and focus our efforts on discovering novel strategies to manipulate the DNA repair pathways in order to reduce the initiation, progression, and drug resistance in these tumors.”

The prize is designed to take advantage of New York City as a hub for both the scientific and business communities. Each winner is paired with a mentor in the pharmaceutical industry and has opportunities to present his or her work to audiences representing both science and commerce. The idea is to speed the development of new therapeutic approaches to cancer treatment and potential cures.

“Once again, the quality of this year’s applicant pool was truly superlative and we continue to be deeply impressed with the research conducted by these young investigators as well as the spirit of collaboration among New York’s life-sciences researchers and the institutions with whom they’re working,” said Olivia Tournay Flatto, president of the Pershing Square Foundation, which funds the prize as part of an alliance with The Sohn Conference Foundation and, starting this year, the New York Community Trust. “We look forward to witnessing the culmination of their efforts as they search for innovative and groundbreaking cures and treatments.”

Dr. Sfeir Agnel received her PhD from University of Texas Southwestern, in Dallas, and completed her postdoc training in the laboratory of Titia de Lange, PhD, at Rockefeller University. In addition to this prize, she has accepted awards from the Pew, Packard, and Damon Runyon Foundations; the Human Frontier Science Program; and the Breast Cancer Alliance.

Visit Dr. Sfeir’s laboratory website for more information about her latest research.