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.
Nicholas Navin, Ph.D.
Dr. Nicholas Navin is an internationally recognized scientist for his seminal work on developing the first single cell DNA sequencing method: Single-Nucleus-Sequencing. He applied this method to the study of breast cancer, revealing a punctuated model of copy number evolution. He found that during breast cancer development, hundreds of chromosome rearrangements are acquired in short bursts of evolution, followed by stable clonal expansions to form the tumor mass. This work helped to establish a new field of biology: single cell genomics, which has shown tremendous growth over the past 5 years. The Navin laboratory has continued to develop new single cell DNA sequencing methods to study mutator phenotypes in breast cancer. Their work shows that single cancer cells in triple-negative breast cancer have increased mutation rates, leading to extensive clonal diversity and many rare subclonal mutations in these patients. The Navin laboratory continues to develop and apply single cell sequencing methods to understand the role of clonal diversity in invasion, clonal evolution, metastasis, and chemoresistance in breast cancer. His lab is also actively translating single cell sequencing technologies into the clinic to improve diagnostics, early detection, and targeted therapy for cancer patients.
- Agnel Sfeir, Ph.D., New York University School of Medicine, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, for her fundamental contributions to our understanding of how telomere dysfunction compromises genome integrity and fuels tumor progression.
- Nitzan Rosenfeld, Ph.D., Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, for pioneering work in molecular diagnostics and for establishing circulating tumor DNA as a practical platform for noninvasive cancer genomics.
Learn more about the AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award and eligibility requirements.