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Rachel Darwin, Senior Manager, Public Relations, 2676226624

NCCN Foundation Announces Recipients for 2024 Young Investigator Awards Honoring Future Leaders of Cancer Research

Five early-career oncology investigators recognized for outstanding potential contributions to the cancer treatment delivery landscape.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [April 15, 2024] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) and the NCCN Foundation® today announced five winners for the 2024 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards (YIA). These annual awards honor some of the most promising new oncology researchers from across NCCN’s Member Institutions. Investigator selection and project oversight is organized through the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP). Funding of up to $150,000 over two years per awardee will be provided by the NCCN Foundation.

“It is always a great honor to be able to support up-and-coming talent in the field of cancer research,” said Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN—a former NCCN Foundation YIA recipient. “We have the honor of supporting people who are involved in exciting new research and give them tools to take their careers—and our understanding of cancer—to an even higher level. I congratulate all five recipients and look forward to seeing what they do in the future.”

The 2024 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Award recipients are:

  • Zachary Burke, MD, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
    • Identification and Exploitation of Collateral Sensitivity in Treatment Resistant Osteosarcoma
  • Calista Harbaugh, MD, MS, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
    • Leveraging Hospital Networks to Optimize Guideline-Concordant Cancer Care
  • Alexander Muir, PhD, The UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • Targeting Microenvironmental Synthetic Lethalities in Pancreatic Cancer
  • Andreas Rauschecker, MD, PhD, MSc, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • Deep Learning Radiogenomic Analysis of Primary CNS Lymphoma on Brain MRI
  • James Smithy, MD, MHS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    • A Phase 2 Trial of IO102/IO103 and Nivolumab-Relatlimab Fixed-dose Combination in Previously Untreated, Unresectable Melanoma
Left to right: Drs. Burke, Harbaugh, Muir, Rauschecker, and Smithy.
Dr. Burke Dr. Harbaugh Dr. Muir Dr. Rauschecker Dr. Smithy

“The YIA program is a cornerstone of our work to advance cancer care,” said Patrick Delaney, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “These awards help cultivate and encourage some of the nation’s top next-generation cancer researchers as they guide the course of treatment innovation and advancement.”

Results from these studies will be presented at a future NCCN Annual Conference. During the recent NCCN 2024 Annual Conference, past YIA recipients presented research findings that included immune cell dysfunction, the complementary roles of multiple care teams for CAR T-cell therapy, advanced colorectal and esophagogastric cancers, diverse genetics in cervical cancer, oncogenic dependency in kidney cancer, mucosal melanomas, and radium-223 in prostate cancer. Those abstracts can be found published at, the online home of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

This year’s awards were made possible through support from the NCCN Foundation with additional funding from AbbVie; Daiichi Sankyo; Edith C. Blum Foundation; Joanne Mohr-Hartshorne; Merck & Co., Inc.; and Pfizer Inc. The NCCN Foundation has awarded more than $11.1 million since 2011 through the YIA program, to a total of 75 researchers. Visit to learn more about the program and past recipients.

Correction: A previous version of this announcement omitted the name of Dr. Calista Harbaugh and included the name Dr. Jennifer Vega.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit for more information.

About the NCCN Foundation

The NCCN Foundation empowers people with cancer and their caregivers by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. The NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research. For more information about the NCCN Foundation, visit