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2021 Excellence in Science Award Recipients Announced

Thursday, April 28, 2022
FASEB announced the recipients of its 2021-2022 Excellence in Science Awards:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: M. Celeste Simon, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Mid-Career Investigator Award: Valentina Greco, PhD, Yale School of Medicine
  • Early-Career Investigator Award: Cigall Kadoch, PhD, Harvard Medical School
For more than 30 years, FASEB’s Excellence in Science Awards have highlighted outstanding achievements by women in biological science. The awards are bestowed to female scientists demonstrating not only excellence and innovation in their research fields, but exemplary leadership and mentorship as well. In 2020, the program expanded to include awards recognizing contributions of early- and mid-career researchers, in addition to lifetime achievement.

“It is our distinct honor to recognize the work that female scientists are doing to create an impact in the biological and biomedical research community. It is an even greater privilege to honor the 2021 Excellence in Science Award recipients who exemplify the highest standards in the scientific community,” said Patricia L. Morris, MS, PhD, Guest Investigator at The Rockefeller University, Senior Scientist at Chromocell Biotech, and President of FASEB.

Lifetime Achievement Award: M. Celeste Simon, PhD
The FASEB Excellence in Science Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes M. Celeste Simon’s contributions to the study of cancer cell metabolism, primary tumor metastasis, and the link between chronic inflammation and cancer predisposition. The award also recognizes her devotion to mentoring the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows who have conducted research in her laboratory over 25 years. 

“While Dr. Simon has led an independent research program since 1992, her recent productivity indicates that her significant influence on the areas of hypoxia, cancer metabolism, and malignant progression will continue at the same high caliber for many years to come,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, who nominated her for the award. “I predict she will continue to deliver breakthrough discoveries, as well as enthusiastically contribute to the overall education mission at the Perelman School of Medicine, by remaining a devoted and highly energetic mentor to women at all levels of their scientific careers,” he added.

Simon holds dual roles as Scientific Director at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and the Arthur H. Rubenstein Professor at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She was awarded the National Cancer Institute’s Outstanding Investigator Award in 2017. Simon is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
Mid-Career Investigator Award: Valentina Greco, PhD
Valentina Greco, Professor in the Genetics, Cell Biology, and Dermatology Departments at Yale School of Medicine, is the recipient of the Mid-Career Investigator Award. “She is a rising star in the stem cell field who has made landmark contributions to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine,” Haifan Lin, PhD, Director of the Yale Stem Cell Center, noted in his nomination of her. “Her innovative research has generated immediate and broad impact and will continue to transform the way we conduct stem cell research in years to come,” he added. 

The award recognizes Greco’s stellar track record in research and her use of genetic, live imaging, and genomic approaches to capture the emergence of cancer by live imaging to transform current therapeutic strategies to cure and prevent cancer.

In addition to her professorship at Yale University, she is a member of the Yale Stem Cell Center and Yale Cancer Center. In 2018, Greco was named the inaugural holder of the Carolyn Slayman Endowed Professorship at Yale. She is also vice president-elect of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, president-elect for the Society of Investigative Dermatology, and vice chair of diversity for the Yale Genetics Department.
Early-Career Investigator Award: Cigall Kadoch, PhD
Cigall Kadoch, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, is one of the leading researchers worldwide in dissecting the biology of chromatin remodeling complexes—groups of proteins that influence how DNA is packaged, thereby controlling when and how strongly genes are expressed. The Early-Career Investigator Award recognizes her innovative discoveries that have become an important focus in cancer research.

Kadoch established her independent lab at the age of 27, becoming one of Harvard Medical School’s youngest ever faculty appointments. Her work combining biochemistry and cell biology to reveal the mechanisms of gene regulation driving human disease holds immense promise for designing new cancer therapeutics.  

The Excellence in Science Award recipients will present a lecture at the annual meeting of a FASEB member society of their choice. Awards will be presented in conjunction with the lecture. More information on FASEB Excellence in Science Awards can be found here