COVID-19 related laboratory shutdowns present a serious threat to scientists in the critical earliest stages of their careers. In response, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is offering extension awards for those Damon Runyon scientists most affected by the current crisis, totaling an additional investment of up to $1,170,000 during this fiscal year.
"When the extent of the pandemic's impact on scientific research became evident, the Scientific Committee of our Board of Directors immediately began discussing how we could support our scientists most affected during this difficult time," says Yung S. Lie, PhD, the President and CEO of Damon Runyon. "Thanks to their leadership, we are able to offer these scientists additional resources that will make a meaningful difference in their careers and allow them to continue their important cancer research."
Damon Runyon Fellows and Damon Runyon Physician-Scientists in the final year of their awards will receive up to 6 months of additional funding, as both award programs support promising scientists in the early and most vulnerable stages of their careers as they transition from mentored trainees to independent faculty roles. The Damon Runyon Fellowship Award enables postdoctoral scientists to be mentored by established investigators in leading research laboratories across the country as they pursue research with the potential to make a significant impact on cancer treatment, diagnosis, or prevention. The Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Training Award addresses a shortage in opportunities for practicing physicians to pursue cancer research careers by providing them with protected time for a high quality mentored research training experience.
"Damon Runyon has always been about identifying the most talented young scientists in the country and empowering them to do impactful cancer research," says William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, Vice Chair of Scientific Programs on the Board of Directors and Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "COVID-19 has caused temporary laboratory closures around the country, and has also resulted in physician-scientists being recruited to the frontlines of COVID-19 care. I am very proud of the Board's decision to provide extension funding to our young awardees whose science and careers have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and who were otherwise in their last year of Damon Runyon funding. This act speaks volumes to the Board's commitment to these young investigators, ensuring that they can regain momentum once the worst of the pandemic is behind us."
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