In a ceremony in partnership with Keystone Symposia, three exceptional scientists were honored for receiving for the 2023 Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize for Immunology. Dr. Joshua Tan and Dr. Roser Vento-Tormo were awarded finalist prizes, and Dr. Aleksandar Obradovic took home the coveted Grand Prize for pushing the boundaries of immunology research
Dr. Gary Michelson, co-chair , and founder of Michelson Philanthropies and Michelson Medical Research Foundation, gave the opening remarks. He was followed by U.S. Representative Mike Levin and speakers from Science, including Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorpe, Publisher Bill Moran, and Senior Editor Seth Scanlon.
The audience was treated to presentations of their research. Dr. Tan is working to identify broadly neutralizing antibodies against coronaviruses to protect against newly emerging COVID variants of concern, as well as any future coronavirus outbreaks. He has identified candidates that he aims to develop into monoclonal antibody drugs, and to guide vaccine design, to build our available arsenal against future pandemic threats.
Dr. Vento-Tormo studies how tissues and cellular microenvironments influence immune cell activation or tolerance, and how these processes might be manipulated to overcome the immune-suppressive environment of tumors. Combining genomics, imaging and machine learning and stem cell engineering tools she is able to discover novel regulatory programs to enable new immunotherapy approaches
Finally, Dr. Obradovic has developed a powerful method to profile immune cells within tumors, and to determine how cancer treatments and immunotherapies impact their activity and anti-tumor effects. Leveraging these tools, he explores how different cancer treatments and immunotherapies can be combined to target common mechanisms for synergistic cancer killing effects, with the goal of overcoming treatment resistance and relapse.
Applications for the 2024 Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize will open from May 1 to October 1, 2023, offering an incredible opportunity for early-career investigators to showcase their groundbreaking research and receive the recognition they deserve.