The Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology is presented annually to a former Cancer Research Institute postdoctoral fellow in recognition of outstanding success in academia or industry for research that has had a major impact in the field of immunology.
The award is named after CRI Scientific Advisory Council member Frederick W. Alt, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School, Immune Disease Institute, in Boston, MA, who has been deeply involved in cultivating the careers of emerging young scientists and who has made many seminal contributions to the field of immunology.
"I try to provide a very rigorous scientific environment, where postdoctoral fellows are constantly challenged to think about and justify their work. At the same time, I try to promote a friendly and open environment where collaborative work and active discussion are engaged." — Frederick W. Alt, Ph.D.
Boris Reizis, Ph.D.
Dr. Reizis was honored with the 2018 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology for his contributions that have advanced our understanding of dendritic cells, the key sentinel cells of the immune system. His work elucidated signaling pathways and regulatory molecules that control dendritic cell development, characterized the function of these cells in immune responses and homeostasis, and established the connections between dendritic cell development and malignant transformation. He also contributed to our understanding of aberrant immune responses to the body’s own nucleic acids in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. He was a CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1997-2000.
Shannon J. Turley, Ph.D.
Dr. Turley was honored with the 2017 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology based on her work that has focused on how stromal cells and immune cells influence each other in the context of inflammation, cancer, fibrosis, and response to immunotherapy. By gaining a better understanding of how different stromal cells shape immune responses, Dr. Turley also uses this knowledge to develop strategies that target these stromal cells and have the potential to improve treatment for various immune-related diseases and cancer. She was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at the Joslin Diabetes Center from 2002-2004.
E. John Wherry, Ph.D.
Dr. E. John Wherry, was recognized for his discoveries regarding how T cell exhaustion is influenced by changes in gene expression. Current immunotherapies called checkpoint inhibitors work in part by enabling T cells to overcome this exhaustion. He was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Emory University from 2000-2003.
Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Nina Bhardwaj was honored for her pioneering work on dendritic cells, which are key antigen-presenting cells that play an important role in starting immune responses, and are now used in several immunotherapies. Dr. Bhardwaj was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1985-1988.
Iannis Aifantis, Ph.D.
Dr. Iannis Aifantis received the award for his seminal contributions in delineating the molecular mechanisms driving normal stem cell differentiation and their malignant differentiation. These stem cells give rise to all of our blood and immune cells, which are extremely important in maintaining our health by allowing us to overcome many diseases, including cancer. He was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from 2000-2002.
Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D.
Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey was recognized for her leadership of the Cancer Research Institute, which has fostered the field of cancer immunology for over 60 years and continues to drive new breakthroughs which have led to life-saving immunotherapies. She was recognized as a driving force in forging collaborative research and in building an unparalleled infrastructure to facilitate translation of discoveries in the field to the clinic. Dr. O’Donnell-Tormey was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1983-1985.
Sebastian Amigorena, Ph.D.
Dr. Sebastian Amigorena was recognized for his contributions to our understanding of cell biology and specifically antigen presentation in B cells. These antigen-producing B cells are important components of adaptive immune responses against diseases, including cancer. He was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Yale University from 1992-1995.
Stephen C. Jameson, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen C. Jameson was honored for his discoveries concerning how T cells are regulated and how they acquire immune memory. These important anti-cancer cells are fundamental to the success of current immunotherapies such as CAR T cells and checkpoint inhibitors. He was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute from 1989-1990.
Jason G. Cyster, Ph.D.
Dr. Jason G. Cyster was recognized for his contributions regarding the molecules that help guide the migration of immune cells between lymphoid organs and tissues. These insights have refined our understanding of how immune cells work together to coordinate systemic anti-cancer immune responses. Dr. Cyster was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 1992-1995.
Anjana Rao, Ph.D.
Dr. Anjana Rao was honored for her contributions to our understanding of the role of gene transcription factors in cellular differentiation and function, particularly in immune cells. The insights from her work provided a foundation that current immunology research and immunotherapy strategies have built upon to improve immune-based approaches for patients. Dr. Rao was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from 1981-1983.
Sankar Ghosh, Ph.D.
Dr. Sankar Ghosh received the award for his contributions regarding the signal transduction mechanisms involved in NF-kB activation and the regulatory mechanisms that control the nuclear activity of NF-kB. Dr. Ghosh was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research from 1989-1992.
Gourisankar Ghosh, Ph.D.
Dr. Gourisankar Ghosh was honored for his numerous contributions to immunology, including his technological innovations that enables the structural characterization of the inflammatory NF-kB signaling pathway, which plays an important role in immune system activity. Dr. Ghosh was a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow at Yale University from 1993-1995.