Center News file photo
Dr. Muneesh Tewari, an oncologist and researcher in the Human Biology Division, has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers—the nation’s highest honor for scientists at the beginning of their independent research careers. Tewari is among 85 researchers and engineers nationwide to receive the honor this year.
Since 1996, the annual PECASE awards have honored the most promising young researchers in the United States whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science. The Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President coordinates the awards. Nine federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the candidates.
Selection for the award is based on two criteria:
- Innovative research at the frontiers of sciences and technology that is relevant to the mission of the sponsoring organization or agency
- Community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education or community outreach.
Tewari was nominated for the honor by the National Institutes of Health, which supports his work. Tewari’s research focuses on molecules called microRNAs, which act like brakes on different parts of a cell, keeping genes in check. He is working to understand why the brakes sometimes fail—allowing unchecked cell growth and resulting in cancer. He is also studying microRNAs that are released from cancer cells and enter the bloodstream. His work holds promise for both treatment and early detection of a variety of cancers, including prostate, breast, lung and ovarian cancers.
Previous Presidential Early Career Award recipients at the Center include Drs. Harmit Malik, Cecilia Moens, Riki Peters, Bill Grady and Effie Petersdorf.