Foundation for the NIH Names Finalists of the 2019 Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists

BETHESDA, MD, September 4, 2019 – The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has selected the finalists of the 2nd annual Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists (Trailblazer Prize): Ami S. Bhatt, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University, James Kochenderfer, M.D., National Cancer Institute (NCI), Evan Macosko, M.D., Ph.D., Broad Institute and Giovanni Traverso, M.B., B.Chir, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. With work spanning the fields of drug delivery, hematology, immunology and neurology, these early-career clinician-scientists are being recognized for their outstanding research contributions that have the potential to or have led to innovations in patient care. The winner will be announced and awarded the Trailblazer Prize and a $10,000 honorarium at the FNIH Annual Fall Board Dinner on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

“We are delighted to once again showcase the invaluable work of clinician-scientists through this year’s FNIH Trailblazer Prize,” said Maria C. Freire, Ph.D., President and Executive Director, FNIH. “By shining a light on the impressive work of these finalists, we hope to inspire the next generation of clinician-scientists—those who are leading innovations in the laboratory that can translate into novel approaches for treating patients.”

The finalists were selected by a jury of distinguished biomedical research leaders for the following accomplishments:

  • Dr. Ami S. Bhatt, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Genetics School of Medicine, Stanford University, for developing genomic and metabolomic tools to track how the microbiome affects the clinical outcomes of cancer patients.
  • Dr. James Kochenderfer, Investigator, Surgery Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, for developing immunotherapies that leverage chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells to treat blood cancers, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
  • Dr. Evan Macosko, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, for developing Drop-seq and Slide-seq technologies that analyze genes expressed at the single-cell level and provide a deeper understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of the brain and other organs.
  • Dr. Giovanni Traverso, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Division of Gastroenterology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School for developing orally administered delivery systems of medications that reside in the gastric cavity for prolonged periods, as well as systems that enable the delivery of biologics, like insulin, orally.

Michael J. Welsh, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Pappajohn Biomedical Institute, University of Iowa, served as Chair of the Trailblazer Prize jury, alongside the following members:

  • Barry Coller, M.D., Vice President for Medical Affairs, Physician in Chief, David Rockefeller Professor
  • Michael Fox, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School; 2018 FNIH Trailblazer Prize Recipient
  • Helen H. Hobbs, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • John I. Gallin, M.D., NIH Associate Director for Clinical Research and Chief Scientific Officer, NIH Clinical Center
  • Crystal Mackall, M.D., Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, Stanford University
  • Steven M. Paul, M.D., Chairman of the Board, FNIH; President and Chief Executive Officer, Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. and Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures

For more information about the Trailblazer Prize, visit


About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit

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