Damon Runyon News

August 9, 2018

By Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Scientist Shruti Naik, PhD


“Sorry, I have to take this call… it’s my campaign manager” are not words one expects to hear from a scientist. But Valerie Horsley, PhD, is redefining what it means to be a scientist. Valerie, a tenured professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University and a former Damon Runyon Fellow (’04-’07), decided that it was time she stepped up. She recently secured a bid from the Hamden district of Connecticut to run for the upcoming democratic primary election, which will be held next week on August 14th. She is not alone--greater numbers of scientists are finding themselves at the crossroads between science and politics. In fact, the largest number of scientists in history are running for office now.


July 13, 2018

by Lorraine Egan, President and CEO of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation 


I have been obsessed with the story of the Thailand cave rescue. It spoke to me on so many levels, especially in this time of political animus, global conflict, and the constant barrage of dire news reports. The rescue was the ultimate story of humanity: people from across the globe working together with passion and relentlessness, undertaking enormous technical and logistical challenges, and refusing to give up on the goal of saving lives. Then it struck me how similar this story is to the work of cancer researchers around the globe. They, too are committed to saving lives. 


June 20, 2018

Matthew G. Vander Heiden MD, PhD (Fellowship Award Committee Member, Fellow ’06-’08, Innovator ’11-‘13) and colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MIT’s Koch Institute, Boston, have found a new reason pancreatic cancer patients lose weight. They observed in mouse models that tumors interfered with the pancreas’ ability to secrete enzymes that digest food. Unable to obtain enough nutrients from food, the mice entered starvation mode in which their bodies broke down fat to survive.

June 19, 2018

John Mendelsohn, MD (Damon Runyon Grantee ’72-’74), President Emeritus of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, shared the 2018 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science with former Damon Runyon Sponsors Tony Hunter, PhD, at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, and Brian J. Druker, MD, at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Portland. Dr. Mendelsohn led the development of a novel targeted therapy: the anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab (Erbitux®).

May 25, 2018

Researchers have long been aware that several viruses have an innate ability to kill cancer cells. Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’13-’16) and Jedd D.

May 23, 2018

Five Damon Runyon alumni are among the 19 individuals named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators this week. These scientists were selected because they ask hard questions in uncharted territories of biology and have the potential to make breakthroughs that will benefit humanity. The appointment provides flexible funding of $8 million over a seven-year term for each scientist, enabling them to pursue provocative fundamental questions of critical importance to biomedical progress.

May 22, 2018

Benjamin L. Martin, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator ’17 – ’20), Stony Brook University, New York, received a 2018 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research. Recipients receive $200,000 per year for up to three years and opportunities to present their work to scientific and business audiences, helping to bridge the gap between the academic and business communities.


May 3, 2018

Maria Mihaylova, PhD (Former Damon Runyon Fellow ‘13-’16) of the Whitehead Institute and MIT’s Koch Institute, Cambridge, has found benefits of intermittent fasting beyond weight loss. The researchers discovered that fasting for 24 hours dramatically improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate in the intestines of aged and young mice. When an injury or infection occurs, stem cells are key to repairing damage. This finding may help patients who suffer from GI infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

May 1, 2018

Two Damon Runyon alumni were elected to the National Academy of Sciences (the science “Hall of Fame”), one of the highest honors that can be earned by a U.S. scientist. Being elected into this prestigious group of scientists recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in biomedical research. This brings the total number of Damon Runyon scientists who are members of the National Academy of Sciences to 74.

April 30, 2018

“Every time we visit a doctor today, we are benefiting from tools developed by countless scientists,” by Lorraine Egan, President and CEO of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation