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CSHL Fellow wins 2015 NIH Early Independence Award for cancer research

Cold Spring Harbor, NY --
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today congratulates CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer, Ph.D. on receiving the 2015 Early Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) High Risk, High Reward Research Program. With a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, Sheltzer joined CSHL in August 2015 to pursue cancer research.

Sheltzer-Jason-IMG 8383 Sheltzer, who was also named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30 in Science” earlier this year, is studying genes that may make a difference between tumors that are benign and those that are cancerous and likely to spread to other parts of the body, a process called metastasis. “In order to uncover new genes that play a role in cancer progression and to increase our understanding of the molecular differences between fatal and non-fatal tumors, we are analyzing data from cancer patient survival studies,” explains Sheltzer. He will use the latest genome-editing technology, called CRISPR, to establish the molecular links between these genes and cancer prognosis.

 “This [Early Independence Award] program has consistently produced research that revolutionized scientific fields by giving investigators the freedom to take risks and explore potentially groundbreaking concepts,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

“With this prestigious federal award, Jason is off to a strong start at CSHL,” said CSHL Director of Research David Spector, Ph.D. “We are delighted that Jason was successful in securing this highly competitive grant award.” The CSHL Fellows program supports outstanding early-career scientists to pursue a period of independent research before taking a faculty position. CSHL has been a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center since 1987, and is the only such center on Long Island.

Now in start-up mode, Sheltzer is looking to hire laboratory technicians and college and high school interns to work on this and other projects. Interested candidates must apply on-line at

In 2015, NIH has awarded 13 Pioneer awards, 41 New Innovator awards, 8 Transformative Research awards, and 16 Early Independence awards. The total funding, which represents contributions from the NIH Common Fund and multiple NIH institutes, centers, and offices is approximately $121 million. More information on current awardees and the NIH High Risk-High Reward Research Program can be found at:

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2015, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory is more than 600 researchers and technicians strong. The Meetings & Courses Program hosts more than 12,000 scientists from around the world each year on its campuses in Long Island and in Suzhou, China. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit

Written by: Dagnia Zeidlickis, VP of Communications | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 516-367-6846