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ISB Researchers Among Recipients of AACR Team Science Award

Shmulevich-Thorsson

Dr. Ilya Shmulevich and Dr. Vésteinn Þórsson

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has recognized the founding members and the current project team of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project with the 2020 AACR Team Science Awards. The recognition was announced at the AACR Virtual Meeting on June 24.

Award recipients include Dr. Ilya Shmulevich, ISB professor and head of the Shmulevich Lab; ISB senior research scientist Dr. Vésteinn Þórsson; and former Shmulevich Lab members Drs. Brady Bernard and Theo Knijnenburg.

“Our lab had the honor of being part of TCGA as a Genome Data Analysis Center,” Shmulevich said after being notified of the AACR award.

TCGA was a landmark cancer genomics program started in 2006 that molecularly characterized more than 20,000 primary cancer and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types.

The Shmulevich Lab teamed with Wei Zhang — then at MD Anderson Cancer — to form the Center.

“Our Center contributed to TCGA by developing novel computational approaches for analyzing large-scale heterogeneous data and participating in numerous working groups focused on individual tumor types. The enormous impact of TCGA on cancer research was made possible by the collective efforts of many incredible individuals across multiple institutions, which the AACR award recognizes.”

ISB’s computational and bioinformatics team, including Shmulevich and Þórsson, played a central role in the completion of the final phase of TCGA, called the PanCancer Atlas Initiative. The culmination of this work was unveiled in 2018 in 27 papers across the Cell Press research journals.

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