Recognizing Innovation in Patient Care Through the Trailblazer Prize
The FNIH Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists recognizes the outstanding contributions of early career clinician-scientists whose work has the potential to, or has led to, innovations in patient care. In searching for potential winners, we seek to highlight true scientific innovators – and this year was no exception. Congratulations to this year’s Trailblazer Prize winners: Eliezer Van Allen, MD, and Nikhil Wagle, MD.
This $10,000 honorarium and prize, split between the two winners, celebrates the transformational work of individuals whose research translates basic scientific observations into new paradigm-shifting approaches for diagnosing, preventing, treating, or curing disease and disability. The Trailblazer Prize is made possible by a generous donation from John I. Gallin, MD, and Elaine Gallin, PhD.
2022 Award Recipients
Eliezer Van Allen, MDAssociate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Population Sciences at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Associate Member of the Broad Institute
Dr. Van Allen has made significant contributions to the advancement of the science of personalized cancer care. Using innovative computational approaches, Dr. Van Allen’s research is helping determine the impact of both inherited and environmental factors on cancer and the influence of genes on an individual’s response to cancer treatment.
“This idea of patient-centered research in clinical, computational oncology, linking this with data, algorithms, computer science-all the excitement in that space-grounded in molecular biology is at the forefront of what we are able to do now,” said Dr. Eliezer Van Allen.
Nikhil Wagle, MDAssociate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Institute Member of the Broad Institute, and an oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Wagle developed novel gene sequencing approaches to profiling cancer mutations that affect treatment response and drug resistance. In addition, Dr. Wagle directs Count Me In, an innovative partnership between patients and researchers that empowers patients to actively participate in cancer research and speed the discovery of new treatments. Regarding the creation of Count Me In, Dr. Wagle shared:
“We asked ourselves, ‘How can we democratize research and do the kind of work that we are doing at Dana-Farber and others are doing at major cancer centers and allow every patient with cancer in the U.S. and beyond to both participate in research and benefit from the findings of that research?’ To that end, we launched a program called Count Me In.”