ISSCR Announces 2019 Award Recipients

  • 8 February, 2019

The ISSCR announces the recipients of its 2019 Award for Innovation, Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator, Tobias Award Lecture, and Public Service Award. Awardees will be recognized at the ISSCR annual meeting, 26-29 June, in Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.

ISSCR Award for Innovation: John E. Dick, PhD, FRS, Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, and Professor, University of Toronto, Canada;

ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator: Barbara Treutlein, PhD, ETH Zurich, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, Basel, Switzerland;

ISSCR Tobias Award Lecture: Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., U.S.

Public Service Award: Eli and Edythe Broad, Founders, The Broad Foundations, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S. 

The ISSCR Award for Innovation recognizes original thinking and groundbreaking research pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine that opens new avenues of exploration toward the understanding or treatment of human disease or affliction.

John E. Dick’s research into leukemia led to the discovery of leukemia stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive and often fatal blood cancer. He has tracked how leukemia stem cells arise from normal stem cells, findings that have led to new methods of predicting which individuals in the general population are at risk of developing AML.

“John’s pioneering work has revolutionized understanding of the human blood-forming system and brought cancer stem cells to the forefront,” said ISSCR President Douglas Melton. “His insights into blood stem cell development and how cancer cells form have significantly advanced the field. Through a series of studies, he has identified leukemic stem cells (LSCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) in solid tumors, a breakthrough that has significant implications for clinical applications,” he said.

Dick will speak in Plenary IV on Friday, 28 June, at 10:50.

The ISSCR Dr. Susan Lim Award for Outstanding Young Investigator recognizes exceptional achievements by an ISSCR member and investigator in the early part of their independent career in stem cell research.

The 2019 recipient, Barbara Treutlein, has done transformational work in single-cell transcriptomics, a technology used to study gene expression in single cells within organisms. Treutlein was one of the first to reconstruct the development of a complex mammalian tissue, and to provide a molecular description of individual cell regeneration in the axolotl limb.  

“This powerful technology is revolutionizing aspects of developmental biology, and Treutlein is at the leading edge,” said Melton. “She has already effectively used this method to study cell composition, lineage, and gene networks in human organoid formations, which can provide insights into how cells differentiate and human organs form,” he said.

Treutlein will present her research in Plenary VI on Saturday, 29 June, at 10:50.

The ISSCR Tobias Award Lecture, started in 2016, is supported by the Tobias Foundation, and recognizes original and promising basic hematology research and direct translational or clinical research related to cell therapy in hematological disorders. The winner presents the Tobias Lecture at the ISSCR Annual Meeting.

Award winner Scott Armstrong’s work has focused on discovery of developmental pathways that drive childhood cancers and developing new treatment approaches. He directs a rigorous research program to develop treatments that target epigenetic mechanisms using new small molecule approaches. 

“Armstrong’s dedicated work on finding ways to treat childhood cancers is remarkable,” said Melton. “He has made seminal discoveries into the molecular nature of leukemia stem cells and demonstrated the key roles that development and gene expression play in disease progression. His work has led to new therapies now in clinical trials in both adults and children,” he said.

Armstrong will deliver the Tobias Lecture in Plenary VII, on Saturday, 29 June, 16:05.

The ISSCR Public Service Award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to public service in the fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

The 2019 recipients, Eli and Edythe Broad, have made significant contributions to the field of stem cell research, with investments that underscore their belief that it has the potential to treat some of the most devastating diseases and conditions and significantly improve human health. The Foundation has supported the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and pledged $113 million in stem cell center grants to create and sustain three stem cell centers in California, and support 375 scientists doing transformational work. The Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, the Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF, and the Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC all operate extensive research programs with funding through the Broad Foundation

“Both Eli and Edythe Broad have been tremendous supporters of stem cell science, and their contributions have been immeasurable,” said ISSCR CEO Nancy Witty. “By providing research facilities and funding scientists and their work, they are truly advancing regenerative medicine and the potential for this research to address critical issues facing human health,” she said. 

The award will be presented in Plenary I on Wednesday, 26 June, at 13:10.

Award-winner biographies and photos are available upon request, as are interviews with ISSCR President Douglas Melton.