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Cancer researcher Dr. Chris Vakoc to receive AACR’s Outstanding Achievement Award

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Christopher Vakoc

Philadelphia, PA and Cold Spring Harbor, NY — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor CSHL Assistant Professor Christopher R. Vakoc, M.D., Ph.D., with the 35th annual AACR Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Award. The award will be given at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, which convenes in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 18th.

Since 1979, the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research has been awarded to an investigator younger than 40 years of age to recognize his or her meritorious achievements within the field of cancer research.

Vakoc is being recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of epigenetics and cancer biology. His research on the basic molecular mechanisms that control leukemias have revealed an essential connection between epigenetic regulation and oncogenesis. This work has led to the development of potential new therapeutic approaches—including a drug called a bromodomain inhibitor—currently being evaluated in early-stage clinical trials.

“Chris Vakoc’s fundamental work on how gene expression is controlled in normal and cancer cells and the application of this work to finding new ways to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most difficult blood cancers, as well as other cancers, has been exciting for all of us at the Laboratory to follow,” said Dr. Bruce Stillman, CSHL’s President and CEO.  “We congratulate Chris on this very significant honor, which is well deserved.”

“I am grateful to the AACR for this award and for recognizing the impact that basic research in epigenetics and cancer biology can have on therapeutics,” Vakoc said.  “I am excited about the future of my research and the potential to improve the lives of patients battling leukemias and other cancers.”

Vakoc has been recognized with numerous other honors, including the “A” Award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the V Scholar Grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Forbeck Scholar Award, the Sass Foundation Fellowship, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists, and the Sass Foundation for Medical Research Fellow Award.

He joined CSHL in 2008 as a CSHL Fellow and became a faculty member in 2011, when appointed assistant professor. Vakoc received his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in 2001 and his doctoral and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania,  in 2005 and 2007, respectively, where he was also a postdoctoral fellow.

Written by: Public Affairs | | 516-367-8455

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About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 101 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 25 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with over 18,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. For more information about the AACR, visit

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, 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 employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit