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CSHL Fellow wins 2015 NIH Early Independence Award for cancer research

Jason Sheltzer
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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, 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:

Written by: Dagnia Zeidlickis, Vice President, Communications | | 516-367-8455

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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 1,000 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, high school, and undergraduate students and teachers. For more information, visit