Dr. Anna S. Nam, an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received a 2020 Early Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) High Risk, High Reward Research program and a 2020 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists.
The two highly selective awards will provide approximately $2 million in grants to help advance Dr. Nam’s career as she establishes her own laboratory in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and mentors other rising scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Dr. Nam received both awards for her innovative work studying blood cell cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms. Oncologists now routinely identify cancer-causing mutations by sequencing the DNA of patients, which allows them to better predict the course of the disease and select the best therapy. However, for reasons that are currently unknown, there can be differences in outcomes in patients with the same cancer-causing mutations. Dr. Nam’s laboratory is studying how factors beyond genes, like epigenetics or the environment inside a patient’s bone marrow, may play a role.
She has already led the development of a new single-cell RNA sequencing technique that distinguishes blood cells with a cancer-causing mutation from normal blood cells within a patient.