Cancer Research Institute Media Room



​Cancer Research Institute Announces 2019 Recipients of Its Top Scientific and Philanthropic Awards Honoring Discovery, Service in Advancing Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Research

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all forms of cancer, has announced the 2019 recipients of its highest scientific and philanthropic awards. CRI will present the awards to ten honorees at its annual gala taking place Monday, October 7, 2019, at The Rainbow Room in New York City.

2019 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology

The Coley Award is given to one or more scientists for seminal discoveries in the fields of basic immunology and tumor immunology:

In Tumor Immunology

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Surgery, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles; Director of the Tumor Immunology Program, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

In recognition of his efforts to spearhead the clinical adoption of checkpoint immunotherapy, his complementary research that has defined mechanisms and identified biomarkers of response and acquired resistance to PD-1 blockade therapies, and his development of stem cell-based adoptive cell therapies.

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Deputy Director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; Associate Director, Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Johns Hopkins University

In recognition of her research focused on novel vaccine approaches that overcome immune tolerance to cancers and her development of both genomic and proteomic methods to identify new pathways and biomarkers associated with the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancers. 

In Basic Immunology

Zelig Eshhar, PhD, Professor of Chemical and Cellular Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science

Lawrence E. Samelson, MD, Chief, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH

Brian Seed, PhD, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Arthur Weiss, MD, PhD, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Engleman Distinguished Professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

For their collective contributions to identifying and elucidating the role of the T cell antigen receptor zeta chain as a key T cell signaling molecule and its application to CAR T cell therapy. 

2019 Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology

The Alt Award recognizes former CRI-Irvington postdoctoral fellows whose research has had a major impact on immunology.

Shane Crotty, PhD, Professor, Division of Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Immunology

In recognition of his body of scientific research contributing to our understanding of the underlying immunology of vaccines, particularly the development of potent antibody responses and immune memory, and his elucidation of the important role of CD4+ “helper” T cells in these processes.

2019 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research

The Grace Award recognizes the contributions of exceptionally dedicated individuals or companies whose leadership has had significant impact on medical research, patient care, or public education

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

In recognition of GSK’s core commitment to immunology and its philosophy of collaborating with companies, academics, and research charities to explore new drugs and accelerate drug development. GSK is also a valuable strategic partner to CRI, providing generous support for CRI’s scientific and patient education programs. Axel Hoos, MD, PhD, senior vice president of oncology R&D at GSK, will accept the award.

Oliver R. Grace Jr., Chief Executive, Grace Family Office; Member, Cancer Research Institute Board of Trustees

In honor of his service and philanthropic support as a member of the CRI Board of Trustees for 27 years and, as son of CRI’s Founding Chairman Oliver R. Grace, for his upholding of the Grace Family legacy as pillars of the CRI community.

2019 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research (Honorary) 

Geoffrey O. Coley, International Business Head, MUFG Securities; Member and Treasurer, Cancer Research Institute Board of Trustees

In lieu of a Grace Award, CRI will bestow a namesake honorary Coley Award to the great-grandson of Dr. William Coley, father of CRI’s co-founder, Helen Coley Nauts, in recognition of his 21 years of service and commitment to CRI, through which he has carried out the Coley Family’s pioneering legacy in tumor immunology, helping to chart CRI’s impact in the field.

Event Contact
Jasmine Lingard, +212.688.7515 x243, [email protected]

Media Contact
Brian M. Brewer, +212.688.7515 x242, [email protected]

About the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology
The Cancer Research Institute established this award in 1975 in honor of Dr. William B. Coley, now regarded as the Father of Cancer Immunotherapy, whose daughter Helen Coley Nauts (1907-2001) founded the Cancer Research Institute. Award winners are nominated by CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council and former Coley Award winners, including: Miriam Merad and Padmanee Sharma (2018); Rafi Ahmed and Thomas F. Gajewsky (2017); Ton Schumacher and Dan Littman (2016); Glenn Dranoff and Alexander Y. Rudensky (2015); Tasuku Honjo, Lieping Chen, Arlene Sharpe, and Gordon Freeman (2014); Michael Karin (2013); Carl June and Michel Sadelain (2012); Philip D. Greenberg and Steven A. Rosenberg (2011); Haruo Ohtani, Wolf Hervé Fridman, and Jérôme Galon (2010); Cornelis J.M. Melief, Klaus Rajewsky, and Frederick W. Alt (2009); Michael J. Bevan (2008); Jeffrey V. Ravetch (2007); Shizuo Akira, Bruce A. Beutler, Ian H. Frazer, and Harald zur Hausen (2006); James P. Allison (2005); Shimon Sakaguchi and Ethan M. Shevach (2004); Jules A. Hoffmann, Charles A. Janeway, Bruno Lemaitre, and Ruslan Medzhitov (2003); Lewis L. Lanier, David H. Raulet, and Mark J. Smyth (2002); and Robert D. Schreiber (2001).

About the Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology
The Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology honors a former CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellow in recognition of outstanding success in academia or industry for research that may have a potentially major impact on immunology. The award is named after CRI Scientific Advisory Council member Frederick W. Alt, PhD, of the Harvard Medical School, Immune Disease Institute in Boston, MA, who has been deeply involved in cultivating the careers of emerging young scientists. Former Alt award winners include: Boris Reizis (2018); Shannon J. Turley (2017); E. John Wherry (2016); Nina Bhardwaj (2015), Iannis Aifantis (2014), Jill O’Donnell-Tormey (2013), Sebastian Amigorena (2012), Stephen C. Jameson (2011), Jason G. Cyster (2010), Anjana Rao (2009), Sankar Ghosh (2008), and Gourisanker Ghosh (2007).

About the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research
This award, established in 1995, recognizes the contributions of dedicated laypersons whose leadership has had a significant impact on cancer research. The award is named in memory of the late Oliver R. Grace, founding chairman of the Cancer Research Institute, whose vision, wisdom, and generosity benefited the Institute for nearly 40 years. Former Grace Award winners include: George D. Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron, and journalist and filmmaker Perri Peltz (2018); Bill Anderson, CEO of Genentech, and philanthropist and New York City real estate developer Bruce Ratner (2017); Robert A. Bradway, chairman and CEO of Amgen (2016); Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., and philanthropist Lauren Veronis (2015), Murdo Gordon, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Jacques C. Nordeman, chairman, Nordeman Grimm, Inc. (2014); Sean Parker, serial tech entrepreneur and philanthropist (2013); Bahija Jallal, PhD, executive vice president, AstraZeneca, and head of MedImmune (2013); Mark P. Frissora, former Hertz Corporation chairman and CEO (2012); Mitchell H. Gold, MD, former CEO, Dendreon Corporation (2011); American fashion designer Michael Kors (2010); Andrew Witty, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (2010); Fred Hassan, former chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough Corporation (2009); Wade F.B. Thompson, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Thor Industries (2007); Julian H. Robertson Jr., chairman, Tiger Management LLC (2006); and journalist Katie Couric (2002).

About Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to saving more lives by fueling the discovery and development of powerful immunotherapies for all types of cancer. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 24 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $420 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to

Read more:

This website uses tracking technologies, such as cookies, to provide a better user experience. If you continue to use this site, then you acknowledge our use of tracking technologies. For additional information, review our Privacy Policy.