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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Honors Five Outstanding Blood Cancer Scientists with 2023 Awards

RYE BROOK, N.Y., December 11, 2023 – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) recognized and celebrated the outstanding contributions of five scientific investigators for their achievements in helping drive forward LLS’s work to cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.  

The recipients were honored at the LLS Research Awards & Networking Event on Sunday, December 10, in San Diego, while the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting was in full swing. LLS recognized two long-time esteemed members of the scientific community with “LLS Excellence in Scientific Service” awards, and three young innovators who will change the face of blood cancer research for decades to come with “Career Development Achievement” awards. 

“Tonight, we honor these five extraordinary scientists, but we also acknowledge the hundreds of LLS-funded researchers, all of whom are making unique and invaluable contributions that will keep us on our path toward more blood cancer cures and better treatments that improve the lives of patients, survivors and families,” said Andy Kolb, M.D., LLS President and CEO.

Humanitarian Scientists Honored for Service to LLS, Blood Cancer Community 

The Excellence in Scientific Service award recognizes outstanding scientists who have made exceptional contributions to blood cancer research and have also generously given their time and expertise to help LLS find and fund the brightest scientists and most innovative biotech companies working to cure all forms of blood cancer. The awards were presented by Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for LLS. “It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Rosen and Dr. Levine over the past decade,” said Dr. Greenberger. “Each of them has dedicated countless hours to advance the mission of LLS research and clinical development programs.”  

This year’s winners are: 

Ross L. Levine, M.D., Senior Vice President, Memorial Hospital Translational Research and the Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Levine’s laboratory is working to uncover the underlying genetic basis of myeloid cancers, including identifying mutations that drive development and growth of myeloproliferative neoplasms and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). As a physician-scientist, Dr. Levine has a special interest in translating this knowledge from the laboratory into the clinic, where it can improve patient care and outcomes. Dr. Levine is also a lead investigator of LLS’s Beat AML Master Clinical Trial.  

"LLS is the premier organization supporting blood cancer research, and I have been privileged for the opportunity to support their efforts. I and am also deeply grateful for the support LLS has provided for our own research. I am honored to be recognized for my contribution and look forward to many more years of service alongside LLS, to our patients and the scientific community,” said Dr. Levine. 

Five individuals pose for a photo in front of a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society backdrop
From left to right: Dr. Lee Greenberger, LLS Chief Scientific Officer; Dr. Andy Kolb, LLS President & CEO; LLS Excellence in Scientific Service award winners, Dr. Steven Rosen and Dr. Ross Levine; Dr. Gwen Nichols, LLS Chief Medical Officer

Photo credit: John Schnack Photography 

Steven T. Rosen, M.D., Executive Vice President and Director Emeritus of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope in Duarte, California. Dr. Rosen is a pioneer in the use of biological therapies for blood cancer, including monoclonal antibodies and recombinant toxins that target cancer cells; treatments to promote cancer cell death; RNA-based analogues and cell signaling regulators that can interrupt cancer cell growth; and vaccines that can trigger an immune response against cancer cells. 

“I am truly honored to receive this recognition from LLS. Its mission and values are embraced by all in our field. The scientific achievements advanced through LLS funding have transformed the care of individuals facing the challenge of blood cancer. A sincere thank you to the exceptional LLS staff and the donors whose generous contributions have provided the necessary resources for success. LLS is unparalleled in its commitment to discoveries that benefit all of humanity,” said Dr. Rosen. 

LLS Honors Emerging Research Leaders 

The LLS Career Development Program (CDP) Achievement award recognizes researchers at different stages of their careers whose significant contributions to the field already mark them as visionaries on a clear trajectory to drive breakthroughs in blood cancer treatment and care. The awards, for recipients of LLS’s CDP grants, which provide 2-5 years of funding, were presented by LLS Chief Medical Officer, Gwen Nichols, M.D.   

“LLS’s strategic approach recognizes that biomedical research is a long game that requires ongoing support for research and researchers at all stages,” said Dr. Nichols. “LLS is funding unique work with each of this year’s CDP Achievement award winners that will improve our understanding of how blood cancers develop, how we can improve treatment, and even our ability to predict who will respond to which types of precision medicine treatment.”  

This year’s winners are:  

2023 LLS-CDP Fellow Achievement Awardee, Shan Lin, Ph.D., received his LLS-CDP Fellow grant for his postdoctoral studies at Dana-Farber, where he used CRISPR technology to screen mutant cancer cells to identify novel treatment targets for AML. He is now at the Seattle Children's Research Institute, where he is investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating the death of leukemia cells and harnessing this knowledge for treatment of difficult-to-treat hematologic malignancies. 

2023 LLS-CDP Scholar Achievement Awardee, Grant Challen, Ph.D., is Professor in the Division of Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His laboratory research aims to determine how disruption of the chemical compounds that direct our genome leads to the development of blood cancers. He was the first to describe how mutations in the DNMT3A gene regulate the balance of self-renewal and differentiation of blood stem cells as a first step to development of AML.   

2023 LLS-CDP Clinical Scholar Achievement Awardee, Matthew Davids, M.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine and Leader of the Lymphoma Program for Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. In addition to maintaining a busy clinic practice focused mainly on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Dr. Davids leads numerous clinical trials of novel combination treatments for patients with CLL and lymphoma. He also runs an independent laboratory that uses functional precision medicine techniques to study patient samples with a goal of predicting response to therapy and understanding resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies. 

Five individuals pose for a photo in front of a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society backdrop
From left to right: Dr. Andy Kolb, LLS President & CEO; LLS Career Development Program Achievement award winners, Dr. Grant Challen, Dr. Matthew Davids and Dr. Shan Lin; Dr. Gwen Nichols, LLS Chief Medical Officer 

Photo credit: John Schnack Photography

LLS hosts the Research Awards & Networking Event annually timed to the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting. 

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the global leader in the fight against blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. 

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has regions throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.    

LLS is the only organization featured in the nonprofit category on both Fast Company’s 2022 Brands That Matter list and the 2023 Best Workplaces for Innovators list. LLS stands out among brands around the world for its relevancy, cultural impact, ingenuity, and mission impact.    
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Ryan McDonald 
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society