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.
2016 Wachtel Award Recipient
Roel Verhaak, Ph.D.
Dr. Verhaak is an associate professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, who is best known for his research on genomics and transcriptomics of adult diffuse glioma. With formal training in biomedicine and computer science from the Netherlands, he came to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in 2007 to join the team responsible for The Cancer Genome Atlas program. After developing a broadly adopted gene expression subtype classification of glioblastoma, he established his own laboratory in 2010. The Verhaak lab has received recognition for their innovative approaches to molecular analysis of glioma, characterized by cutting edge computational analysis converging on large molecular datasets generated from glioma tumors and model systems. The Verhaak lab was the first to report commonly occurring fusion transcripts in glioblastoma and to perform unbiased genomic comparisons of primary and recurrent disease, and it has established a genome-wide DNA methylation-based classification intended to complement pathohistological review for optimal clinical classification of brain tumors. This approach is increasingly being adopted by clinical centers worldwide. Most recently, the lab is using various sequencing methodologies to gain insights into the pathobiology of cancer with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.
- Nicola Aceto, Ph.D., University of Basel, Switzerland, for his work on the isolation and characterization of circulating tumor cells.
- Eliezer M. Van Allen, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, for his studies in clinical computational oncology and precision medicine.