Cherry, Simon_001Simon Cherry has been selected to receive a prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The award, which supports investigators with outstanding records of productivity in cancer research, brings more than $700,000 per year for seven years for long-term programs of unusual potential in cancer research. The new award is granted to experienced investigators likely to continue to conduct seminal cancer research and to mentor the next generation of cancer researchers.

Cherry is one of 60 researchers nationwide to receive the honor. He will use the funds for expanding his research involving optical and ionizing radiation for innovative cancer imaging and therapy. His grant funding took effect Aug. 1.

“This grant will give us unprecedented flexibility to pursue highly innovative ideas for cancer imaging and therapeutic approaches that would be hard to fund through traditional project-based grants,  Cherry said. “The grant also provides support for students and postdoctoral fellows to pursue their own ideas within the laboratory.”

Cherry’s work in imaging involves developing new technologies and methods to improve screening, detection, diagnosis and staging of cancer. He explores the interplay between radionuclide therapy and light-based therapy for treatment of metastatic cancer. Cherry’s hope is to advance new detector technologies for molecular imaging of cancer and explore novel ways to deliver light deep inside the body to enable the use of light-based therapies for treating metastatic cancer.

“The NCI Outstanding Investigator Award addresses a problem that many cancer researchers experience:  finding a balance between focusing on their science while ensuring that they will have funds to continue their research in the future,” said Dinah Singer, director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology.  “With seven years of uninterrupted funding, NCI is providing investigators the opportunity to fully develop exceptional and ambitious cancer research programs.”

The award was developed to provide investigators with substantial time to break new ground or extend previous discoveries to advance biomedical, behavioral or clinical cancer research. Award recipients are cancer researchers nominated by their institutions who have served as a principal investigator on an NCI grant for the last five years and have demonstrated outstanding cancer research productivity.

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