The annual AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award, funded by an endowment established through a generous bequest from Martin L. Wachtel, honors early-career investigators who have performed outstanding work in the field of cancer research. The award winner is invited to deliver a public lecture on his or her research and receives an unrestricted cash award of $25,000. The award winning Essay is published as a Focus article in Science Translational Medicine.
2017 Wachtel Award Recipient
Hani Goodarzi, Ph.D.
Hani Goodarzi | Marco Sanchez, UCSF DM Photography; The copyright is owned by the UC Regents
Dr. Hani Goodarzi is an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco. With a dual expertise in computational and experimental cancer biology, he brings a multidisciplinary approach to studying cancer progression. His research is focused on developing strategies that enable an unbiased search for previously unknown pathways that drive oncogenesis and metastasis. As a postdoctoral fellow, at Columbia University and then at Rockefeller University, he developed a number of key technologies that led to the discovery of novel drivers of breast cancer metastasis. Chief among them, he led a multi-lab collaborative effort to devise and implement a computational platform named TEISER that systematically identifies cis-regulatory elements in RNA with strong structural features. By applying TEISER to differential RNA stability measurements between poorly and highly metastatic cells, he revealed a new post-transcriptional regulatory pathway that promotes breast cancer metastasis. In addition, by developing novel technologies for genome-wide measurement of hard-to-quantify RNA molecules, he has made key discoveries about the role of tRNAs and tRNA fragments in cancer metastasis. In 2016, he started his lab at UCSF where he continues to expand on his multidisciplinary platform in order to find new pathways involved in human disease. He also seeks to translate his findings to the clinic by developing therapeutic regimens that target these pathways. In 2017, for his contributions to cancer research, Dr. Goodarzi was named a Kimmel scholar. He was previously a recipient of the prestigious Blavatnik award for young scientists as well as the Tri-institutional Breakout prize.
- Heather Christofk, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, for her research on metabolic reprogramming in tumors.
- Elizabeth Murchison, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, for her studies on transmissible tumors.
- Florian Muller, Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, for his work on molecular targeted therapy in cancer.