SEATTLE — Nov. 8, 2010 — Muneesh Tewari, M.D., Ph.D., an oncologist and cancer researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 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, an assistant member of the Hutchinson Center’s Human Biology Division, 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 awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. 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, and community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education or community outreach.
Tewari was nominated for the honor by the National Institutes of Health within the Department of Health and Human Services, 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.
In addition to Tewari, the Hutchinson Center is home to five other Presidential Early Career Award recipients: basic scientist Harmit Malik, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist who studies genetic conflict; basic scientist Cecilia Moens, Ph.D., who studies the zebrafish as a model of vertebrate developmental biology; public health researcher Ulrike “Riki” Peters, Ph.D., who studies the link between nutrition and cancer prevention; clinical researcher William Grady, M.D., who studies the mechanisms of colorectal-cancer development; and human immunogenetics researcher Effie Wang Petersdorf, M.D., whose work has helped refine the tissue-typing process, which enables bone-marrow or stem-cell transplant patients to find suitably matched donors.
Note for media only: A photo of Tewari is available upon request.
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