December 8, 2017
For the second year in a row, a KI alum has been named a winner of the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists! Jared Mayers — a former doctoral student in the Vander Heiden Lab and now a resident in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital — was selected for the prize based on the work described in his essay, "Metabolic markers as cancer clues." The essay recounts Mayers' investigations using analysis of whole-body metabolic markers to understand early-stage cancer progression and identify potential metabolic weaknesses that could be exploited therapeutically. The approach also revealed strong evidence that tumors initiated by the same genetic changes can have wildly different effects on whole-body and cellular metabolism depending on the tumor’s tissue of origin. These findings suggest a shifting paradigm for personalized medicine, arguing that context plays as critical a role as the genetic drivers, and offering new insights into early disease stages. In recognition of his illuminating research and essay, Mayers — similarly to 2016 prize winner and KI alumna Canan Dagdeviren — traveled to Stockholm to receive his medal and attended the 2017 Nobel Prize Ceremony. Read Mayers' award-winning essay here.