Kraft Prize Virtual Symposium

Overview

Since 2006, the MGH Center for Cancer Research has annually honored a luminary in the field - an extraordinary scientist, who has made major advances in our understanding of cancer and its treatment, and has been recognized as a true mentor by teaching and inspiring the next generation of cancer researchers. This year, the 2021 Kraft Award will be presented to Aviv Regev, PhD, Head of Genentech Research and Early Development, for her groundbreaking work in cancer heterogeneity and single cell genomics. Previous recipients of the MGH Award in Cancer Research (preceding the endowment of this award in honor of Jonathan Kraft) include: Drs. Anton Berns, Joan Massague, Titia de Lange, Bert Vogelstein, Charles Sawyers, Michael Stratton, Craig Thompson, James Allison, and Hans Clevers. In 2015, Dr. David Allis was the first recipient of the named Jonathan Kraft Award. In subsequent years, the Award has been given to Drs. Joan Steitz, Kevan Shokat, Charles Swanton, and Carl June.

2021 Event & Agenda

2021 Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Thursday, November 4, 2021 | 1:00pm-5:00pm

1:00pm - Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Introductions

  • Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD
    Director, Mass General Cancer Center
  • Nir Hacohen, PhD
    Director, Center for Cancer Immunology, Mass General Hospital Cancer Center

1:10pm - "Next generation tools for tissue genomics"

Fei Chen, PhDFei Chen, PhD
Assistant Professor,
Department of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology
Harvard University

Bio: Dr. Fei Chen is currently an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and a Core Faculty member at the Broad Institute.

At Harvard and as a Core Member of the Broad Institute, Dr. Chen’s laboratory sets out to build a set of tools which will bridge single-cell genomics with space and time – to enable discoveries of where cell types are localized within intact tissues, when relevant transcriptional modules are active. To do this, the lab is developing novel technologies at the intersection of microscopy, genomics, and synthetic biology. The lab is applying these tools to learn organizational principles governing development, and cellular mechanisms of disorganization during injury and disease.

Dr. Chen obtained his Ph.D. in biological engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a Schmidt Fellow at the Broad Institute. His awards include the National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award and the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award.

Fei Chen, PhD

1:40pm - "Dissecting the biology of gliomas by single-cell genomics"

Mario SuvaMario L. Suvà, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School
Institute Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Bio: Dr. Mario L. Suvà is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and the Center for Cancer Research at MGH and an Institute Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. His expertise is in neuro-oncology and single-cell genomics.

Dr. Suvà obtained his MD and PhD in Lausanne, Switzerland, studying cancer stem cells in gliomas and sarcomas. He did his post-doctoral research at MGH with Brad Bernstein, applying chromatin analysis and functional approaches to identify master regulators of glioma stem cell programs. Dr. Suvà's laboratory focuses on diffuse gliomas in adults and children. A particular effort of the laboratory is on dissecting the heterogeneity of patient tumors and relating transcriptional and genetic programs of individual cancer cells. Dr. Suvà directed pioneering studies characterizing glioblastoma, oligodendroglioma, astrocytoma and pediatric gliomas with single-cell genomic technologies, shedding light on tumor heterogeneity, tumor classification, glioma cell lineages, cancer stem cell programs, tumor evolution and the composition of the tumor microenvironment.

Mario L. Suvà, MD, PhD

2:10pm - Break

2:30pm - "Causal inference in the light of drug repurposing for COVID-19"

Caroline Uhler, PhDCaroline Uhler, PhD
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Associate Professor
Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bio: Dr. Caroline Uhler co-directs the newly-launched Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center at the Broad Institute and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT. She holds an MSc in mathematics, a BSc in biology, and an MEd all from the University of Zurich. She obtained her PhD in statistics from UC Berkeley in 2011 and then spent three years as an Assistant Professor at IST Austria before joining MIT in 2015. She is a Simons Investigator, a Sloan Research Fellow, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. In addition, she received an NSF Career Award, a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Humboldt Foundation, and a START Award from the Austrian Science Foundation. Her research lies at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and genomics, with a particular focus on causal inference and gene regulation.

Caroline Uhler, PhD

3:00pm - "Unraveling the underpinnings of irAEs to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy through the lenses of single-cell genomics"

Alexandra-Chloe Villani, PhDAlexandra-Chloé Villani, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Center for Immunology & Inflammatory Diseases, Broad Institute, and Harvard Medical School

Bio: Alexandra-Chloé Villani is a member of the faculty of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research program focuses on defining healthy human immune response, including identifying novel immune cell subpopulations and the contribution of genetic variability, to further our understanding of how this baseline is perturbed in disease.She is using population-based and single-cell profiling technologies, along with perturbation strategies and high-throughput functional assays for monitoring human immune cells, to establish a comprehensive data repository that will further our understanding of immune changes associated with human traits and diseases, such as autoimmunity and cancer.

Villani also studies the role of the immune system in cancer development and progression using similar strategies to systematically dissect tumor-associated mechanisms involved in recruiting and mediating interactions with immune cells, which are likely to contribute to the inflammation observed in the tumor microenvironment. Villani received her bachelor’s degree in human physiology and a Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine from McGill University.

Alexandra-Chloé Villani, PhD

3:30pm - Break

3:50pm - Keynote Speaker Introduction & Prize Presentation

Daniel Haber, PhDDaniel Haber, PhD
Director
Mass General Cancer Center

 

4:00pm - Prize Recipient/Keynote Speaker
Keynote Address: "Cell atlases as roadmaps to understand and treat cancer"

Aviv Regev, PhDAviv Regev, PhD
Head, Genentech Research and Early Development
Core member (on leave), Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Professor of Biology (on leave), MIT

Bio: Aviv Regev is a computational and systems biologist, a pioneer in single-cell genomics, and leading expert on how to combine computational algorithms, biological experiments and patient data to discover new mechanisms in cells and tissues in health and disease. As Global head and Executive Vice President, Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED), she is responsible for the management of all aspects of Genentech’s drug discovery and drug development activities. She is a member of the expanded Corporate Executive Committee for Roche.

Prior to Genentech, Regev served as Chair of the Faculty, Core Institute Member (now on leave), founding director of the Klarman Cell Observatory, and member of the Executive Leadership Team of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as well as Professor of Biology at MIT (now on leave) and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a founding co-chair of the Human Cell Atlas.

Regev has served on multiple corporate advisory, scientific advisory, and journal editorial boards, including the advisory committee to the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Regev has a Ph.D. in computational biology and a Master of Science from Tel Aviv University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, and she is also a Fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

Aviv Regev, PhD

 


2021 Prize Recipient

Aviv Regev, PhDAviv Regev, PhD

Head, Genentech Research and Early Development
Core member (on leave), Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Professor of Biology (on leave), MIT

Biography

Aviv Regev is a computational and systems biologist, a pioneer in single-cell genomics, and leading expert on how to combine computational algorithms, biological experiments and patient data to discover new mechanisms in cells and tissues in health and disease. As Global head and Executive Vice President, Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED), she is responsible for the management of all aspects of Genentech’s drug discovery and drug development activities. She is a member of the expanded Corporate Executive Committee for Roche.

Prior to Genentech, Regev served as Chair of the Faculty, Core Institute Member (now on leave), founding director of the Klarman Cell Observatory, and member of the Executive Leadership Team of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as well as Professor of Biology at MIT (now on leave) and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a founding co-chair of the Human Cell Atlas.

Regev has served on multiple corporate advisory, scientific advisory, and journal editorial boards, including the advisory committee to the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Regev has a Ph.D. in computational biology and a Master of Science from Tel Aviv University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, and she is also a Fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Regev Research Summary

The Regev lab develops and applies genomic and computational approaches to the study of cells, their intracellular circuits and their interactions in tissues, in both health and disease. Regev’s group has been a pioneer and leader in the development and application of experimental and computational methods for single-cell genomics, especially single cell RNA-seq, for combining perturbations with single-cell RNA-seq for complex combinatorial screens and dissection of cell circuits and tissues and for developing key algorithms to glean biological insight from such data.

Regev demonstrated the power of these approaches to build revealing “cell atlases” in multiple seminal studies, showing single-cell genomics can recover cell types, transitions between them, their development, histology, anatomy, and the gene and molecular programs that govern these behaviors. She led the application of this approach to yield important insights into systems including innate and adaptive immune cell responses, autoimmunity and inflammatory disease, neuroscience and neurodegenerative disease, and COVID-19.

Regev is a pioneer of the study of solid tumors through scRNA-Seq, at a time when tumor heterogeneity studies focused on DNA mutations in malignant cells, and she built a community studying tumor ecosystems that helped initiate the Cancer Moonshot’s Human Tumor Atlas Network. Her first study, a collaboration with MGH scientists on glioblastoma (GBM), showed that single-cell gene expression data allowed the inference of copy number alterations, point and splice-site mutations; could identify new genes for quiescence; and could reveal cells matching multiple GBM subtypes in each tumor, with increased heterogeneity associated with worse prognosis. Her later work on gliomas and glioblastomas, all in collaboration with MGH scientists, showed that a few programs explain cell diversity across and within patients. In glioblastoma, tumor genotype affects the probability of transition between several programs, whereas in gliomas an epigenetic developmental hierarchy is derived from a small pool of stem-like cells responsible for cell division and tumor genetic diversity. Regev and colleagues also mapped the first full ecosystem of a solid tumor, melanoma, by scRNA-seq, showing that some malignant cells in untreated tumors are in an epigenetic, drug-resistant state; T cells reside in a unique activation-independent exhausted state, and complement expression by cancer-associated fibroblasts affects CD8 T infiltration. Next, Regev and her colleagues discovered an intrinsic malignant program controlled by CDK4/6 that causes immune cell exclusion (“cold” tumors), underlying and predicting intrinsic resistance to checkpoint immunotherapy, and reverted it in mice by combination therapy. This program is present across tumors: in “cold” refractory synovial sarcoma it is controlled by the fusion oncogene driver. Using Perturb-Seq, Regev and colleagues then deciphered the circuits that control this exclusion program in malignant cells.

Overall, Regev’s work has ushered the era of single cell and spatial genomics, using high resolution and massively parallel lab methods and computational algorithms to provide an unprecedented view in the cells, their internal circuits and their interactions in tissue, in both health and disease.

Regev Research Image



Past Events

2019 Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Thursday, May 2, 2019 | Download Event Flyer

Since 2006, the MGH Center for Cancer Research has annually honored a luminary in the field - an extraordinary scientist, who has made major advances in our understanding of cancer and its treatment, and has been recognized as a true mentor by teaching and inspiring the next generation of cancer researchers.

The 2019 Kraft award was presented to Carl June, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, for his outstanding work in CAR T cell therapy for cancer.

Previous recipients of the MGH Award in Cancer Research (preceding the endowment of this award in honor of Jonathan Kraft) include: Drs. Anton Berns, Joan Massague, Titia de Lange, Bert Vogelstein, Charles Sawyers, Michael Stratton, Craig Thompson, James Allison, and Hans Clevers. In 2015 Dr. David Allis was the first recipient of the named Jonathan Kraft Award. In 2016, the Award was given to Dr. Joan Steitz, in 2017 to Dr. Kevan Shokat, and and last year it was presented to Dr. Charles Swanton.

2018 Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Thursday, May 3, 2018 | Download Event Flyer

The 2018 Kraft award was presented to Charles Swanton, MD, PhD, of the Frances Crick Institute and Cancer Research-UK, for his outstanding work that has led to insight into genomic diversity within cancers and molecular mechanisms driving cancer evolution.

2017 Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 | Download Event Flyer

The 2017 Kraft award was presented to Dr. Kevan M. Shokat, of UCSF, for his outstanding work in pioneering a technique to identify the substrates of individual kinases, and for developing a method to precisely control a particular kinase’s activity using small-molecule inhibitors.

2016 Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Thursday, May 26, 2016 | Download Event Flyer

The 2016 Kraft award was presented to Dr. Joan A. Steitz, of Yale University, for her outstanding contributions to the field of non-coding RNA-protein complexes and their emerging role in abnormal development and cancer.


Previous Award Recipients

Jonathan Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research

Presented by the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

2019
Carl June, MD
Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy
Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

2018
Charles Swanton, MD, PhD
Royal Society Napier Chair in Oncology
The Francis Crick Institute
Chair, Personalized Cancer Medicine, UCL Hospitals
Cancer Research-UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence

2017
Kevan M. Shokat, PhD
Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
University of California San Francisco

2016
Joan A. Steitz, PhD
Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Yale School of Medicine

2015
C. David Allis, MD, PhD
Joy and Jack Fishman Professor
Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics, Rockefeller University

The Annual MGH Award In Cancer Research

In memory of Nathan and Grace Shiff

2014
Hans Clevers, MD, PhD
President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Molecular Genetics, University Utrecht, Netherlands

2013
James Allison, PhD
Chair, Department of Immunology
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

2012
Craig Thompson, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York

2011
Michael Stratton, MD, FRS
Director, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

2010
Charles Sawyers, MD
Chairman of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York

2009
Bert Vogelstein, MD
Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics & Therapeutics
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University, Maryland

2008
Titia de Lange, PhD
Associate Director of the Anderson Cancer Center
Rockefeller University, New York

2007
Joan Massague, PhD
Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York

2006
Anton Berns, PhD
Director of Research and Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Netherlands Cancer Institute and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, The Netherlands