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Pershing Square Sohn prize to Camila dos Santos

Camila dos Santos
Camila dos Santos

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New York City and Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Assistant Professor Camila dos Santos, Ph.D., has been awarded the Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research. The announcement was made today by The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance. This is the fifth year the Alliance has awarded the prize to promising early-career, NYC-area scientists—this year, to six others in addition to Dr. dos Santos

Recipients receive $200,000 in funding per year for up to three years to support explorative, high-risk/high-reward cancer research. The awards will be presented on May 23.

“I’m incredibly proud of the 32 early-career researchers who have received the Prize since we started it five years ago,” said Bill Ackman, co-founder of The Pershing Square Foundation and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. “These innovative scientists bring the creativity and passion needed to think unconventionally and explore uncharted territory as they work to discover cures for cancer.”

“Congratulations to Camila dos Santos on this important recognition of her innovative research in breast cancer,” said CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. “I thank the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance for supporting early career researchers advancing today’s cutting-edge science.”

Dr. dos Santos aims to find ways to prevent breast cancer by examining the epigenome, a system of molecular marks that change the way genes are expressed without changing the DNA itself. Her research builds on a correlation that has been observed for nearly 100 years: that a full-term pregnancy early in a woman’s life dramatically reduces her risk of developing breast cancer later in life. By analyzing the epigenome in animal models of breast cancer, Dr. dos Santos’s group has already established that pregnancy changes the epigenome of breast cells known as mammary epithelial cells.

“The Pershing Square Sohn Prize will open the gateway for my laboratory at CSHL to tackle high-risk and bold questions,” Dr. dos Santos commented. “I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of this prestigious award and become a part of such an extraordinary effort and community.”

dos Santos is the fourth member of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory faculty to receive the highly competitive Pershing Square Sohn Prize. Past winners include Associate Professors Mikala Egeblad, Lloyd Trotman, and Christopher Vakoc, all cancer researchers.

Other winners of the 2018 Pershing Square Sohn Prize are Daniel Bachovchin, Ph.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Kivanc Birsoy, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University; Alberto Ciccia, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center; Benjamin Greenbaum, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – Mark Foundation Fellow; Dan Landau, M.D., Ph.D., Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Genome Center; and Benjamin Martin, Ph.D., Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Written by: Andrea Alfano, Content Developer/Communicator | | 516-367-8455

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About The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance

The Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance was formed in 2013 through a $25 million commitment by Bill and Karen Ackman and The Pershing Square Foundation, which partnered with The Sohn Conference Foundation. The Alliance is dedicated to playing a catalytic role in accelerating cures for cancer by supporting innovative cancer research and by facilitating collaborations between academia and industry. Annually, the Alliance awards The Pershing Square Sohn Prize to young New York based scientists who are engaged in cutting-edge cancer research. For more information, visit

About The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research funds groundbreaking research integrating discoveries in biology with innovative technology to deliver breakthroughs to patients. Established in 2015, The Mark Foundation serves as a premier partner to cancer researchers through an exemplary non-profit business model that combines the funding of high-impact, transformative basic and translational cancer research with venture philanthropy. To learn more, 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