Ashok Venkitaraman: Basser Global Prize

  • January 9, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 18
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Ashok Venkitaraman

The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center recently announced that Ashok Venkitaraman, the Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research and director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge, is the recipient of its fifth annual Basser Global Prize.

The Basser Global Prize recognizes a leading scientist who has conceptually advanced BRCA1/2-related research that has led to improvements in clinical care.

Dr. Venkitaraman’s laboratory showed the critical role that BRCA2 plays in repairing the human genome and how mutations in BRCA2 lead to genome instability, which accelerates cancer development.

“It is our privilege to recognize Dr. Venkitaraman for his inspiring accomplishments, which have significantly contributed to our understanding of how cancer is suppressed by genes such as BRCA2,” said Susan Domchek, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA and the Basser Professor of Medicine in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “His pioneering work has helped clarify the basic mechanisms that govern genome repair, replication, and segregation during cell division, as well as their roles in cancer formation and treatment. This knowledge is making a difference for patients with BRCA1/2 mutations by giving them better options for targeted therapies and improved quality of life.”

Dr. Venkitaraman will receive the award and present the keynote address at the annual Basser Center for BRCA Scientific Symposium in May.

The Basser Global Prize provides $100,000 in unrestricted support of the winner’s BRCA1/2-related research efforts, a Basser trophy, and $10,000 cash prize, which will be awarded at the symposium.

“It is an honor to be recognized in this way by the Basser Center, which is at the forefront of efforts to improve the outcome of patients who bear BRCA1/2 mutations,” Dr. Venkitaraman said. “The Basser Global Prize will greatly enhance my laboratory’s ability to pursue promising new research avenues.”