2024 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Academic Convocation and Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Commencement

Established in 2004 with a landmark gift from Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Vice Chair of the MSK Boards of Overseers and Managers, the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK) admitted its first class in the summer of 2006. The school offers the next generation of biomedical scientists an intensive PhD program that trains them to investigate and attack cancer through the twin lenses of basic research and real-life clinical challenges.

GSK faculty are nationally recognized scientists working at the forefront of biomedical research, and the curriculum takes advantage of the unique integration of the basic science and clinical arms of Memorial Sloan Kettering. An intensive lab-work model, along with the opportunity to observe firsthand how research findings are applied, ensures that GSK graduates are well positioned to close the gap between basic and clinical research.

In 2020, GSK launched a new Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Cancer Research (CTCR), which trains physician scholars at MSK to become independent clinical investigators who bridge the gap between basic and clinical cancer research. Through a mix of coursework and mentored research, the CTCR program offers MSK clinicians a mechanism to keep pace with the rapid rate of technological and conceptual advances in cancer biology.

VIDEO | 01:21:26
On Wednesday, May 15, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School celebrated the 45th annual Convocation and 13th Commencement event, recognizing academic award winners and new PhD and MS graduates.

2024 Honorary Degree and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Biomedical Research

Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, The Rockefeller University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Elaine Fuchs, PhD
Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, The Rockefeller University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Read more

Elaine Fuchs is renowned for her research in skin biology, its stem cells and associated disorders, including cancers and inflammation, and has published >370 manuscripts. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton, postdoctorate at MIT, and has been faculty at University of Chicago and now Rockefeller University, where she is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her awards include the National Medal of Science, L’Oreal-UNESCO Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research Innovation Award, the Gairdner International Award and most recently the Franklin Medal. Fuchs holds membership in the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Philosophical Society, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society.

Past GSK Honorary Doctorate of Science Recipients

  • 2023: Craig B. Thompson, MD
  • 2022: Dr. Levi Garraway
  • 2021: Dr. Joan Steitz
  • 2020: Dr. James P. Allison
  • 2019: Dr. Kenneth J. Marians
  • 2018: Dr. Cori Bargmann
  • 2017: Dr. Robert Langer
  • 2016: Dr. Joan S. Brugge
  • 2015: Dr. Robert A. Weinberg
  • 2014: Dr. Thomas J. Kelly
  • 2013: Dr. Paul A. Marks
  • 2012: Mr. Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., and Dr. Harold E. Varmus
2024 Gerstner Sloan Kettering PhD Graduates
Yu-Jung Chen

Yu-Jung Chen
An Exploration of the Cellular Origins and Metabolic Vulnerabilities of Glioblastoma
Mentor: Luis F. Parada, PhD

Ellen Horste

Ellen Louise Horste
Cytoplasmic Location of Translation Controls Protein Output
Mentor: Christine Mayr, MD, PhD 

Benjamin Jackson

Benjamin Tonnu Jackson
Metabolic Control of Naïve Pluripotency
Mentor: Lydia W. Finley, PhD

Yaniv Kazansky

Yaniv Kazansky
Towards Targeted Therapy for Pediatric Sarcomas
Mentor: Alex Kentsis, MD, PhD

Renhe Luo
From “Core” to “Periphery”: Mapping Enhancers in Developmental Gene Regulatory Network
Mentor: Danwei Huangfu, PhD

Katelyn Mullen

Katelyn Mullen
The Evolutionary Forest of Pancreatic Cancer
Mentor: Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, MD, PhD

Chi Linh Nguyen

Chi Linh Nguyen
The Interactions Between Environmental Exposures, the Gut Microbiota and the Immune System in Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation
Mentor: Marcel R. M. van den Brink, MD, PhD

GSK Student Minh N. Nguyen

Minh N. Nguyen
Targeting Antigen Presentation Deficiency in Lung Cancer
Mentor: Charles M. Rudin, MD, PhD

Hongyu Shi

Hongyu Shi
Linking Ovarian Cancer Genomic Instability and Phenotypic Dynamics at Single-Cell Resolution
Mentors: Sohrab P. Shah, PhDNikolaus Schultz, PhD

Thinh Tran

Thinh Ngoc Tran
Methods for Clinical Feature Abstraction and Driver Mutation Annotations Improve Utility of Real-World Cancer Data
Mentor: Nikolaus Schultz, PhD

2024 Gerstner Sloan Kettering MS Graduates
Vance Broach 

Vance Broach 
VISION (Vulvar ICG SLN Detection) Study: Near-Infrared Imaging with Indocyanine Green for Detection of Sentinel Lymph Nodes in Vulvar Cancer
Mentors: Mario M. Leitao, Jr., MD; Nadeem Abu-Rustum, MD

Ivan Sergueivich Kotchetkov

Ivan Sergueivich Kotchetkov 
Developing a CAR T Cell Strategy for Glioblastoma
Mentors: Michel W. Sadelain, MD, PhD; Ingo K. Mellinghoff, MD

Ioannis Politikos 

Ioannis Politikos 
Optimization of Cord Blood Transplantation for the Treatment of High-Risk Hematologic Malignancies in Adults
Mentor: Juliet N. Barker, MBBS 

Michael Scordo

Michael Scordo 
Identifying an Optimal Fludarabine Exposure for Improved Outcomes After Axi-cel Therapy for Aggressive B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Mentors: Sergio A. Giralt, MD; Miguel-Angel Perales, MD

Urvi Ajay Shah 

Urvi Ajay Shah 
A Plant-based Dietary Intervention (NUTRIVENTION) in Precursor Plasma Cell Disorders Improves Biomarkers of Disease and Delays Progression to Myeloma
Mentors: Marcel R.M. van den Brink, MD, PhD; Alexander M.  Lesokhin, MD

Recognition of the Doctoral Dissertation Research


Sloan Kettering Division/Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences

2024 Award Winners


Research Awards
  • Dorris J. Hutchison Graduate
    • Recognizes outstanding research under the mentorship of an MSK faculty member
    • Awarded to Tanmana Mitra
  • Barbara and Stephen Friedman Graduate Fellowship
  • Bruce Charles Forbes Fellowship
  • General Atlantic Fellowship
  • Andrew S. Gordon MERIT Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • MERIT Sawyers Fellowship
  • Marie-Josée Kravis Women in Science Endeavor Graduate Fellowship
  • Marie-Josée Kravis Women in Science Endeavor Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Research Awards
    • Recognizes outstanding accomplishments and promise by research fellows or research associates who have been at MSK for at least one year and have published a significant research paper as first author
    • Awarded to Kaloyan (Kal) Tsanov
  • Tri-Institutional Breakout Prize for Junior Investigators
    • Established by leaders from The Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to recognize exceptional current postdoctoral trainees at each of the three institutions who have made significant research contributions
    • Awarded to Alessandra Brambati
  • Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award for Basic
    • Honors researchers at the Associate level or below who have demonstrated great promise and accomplishment in laboratory investigations
    • Awarded to Richard Hite, PhD, Associate Member, Structural Biology Program 
  • Katharine Berkan Judd Award
    • Recognizes an individual who has made great advancements in the understanding of cancer through basic discovery
    • Awarded to Bruce Stillman, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, President and CEO Oliver R. Grace Professor, Cancer Center Member 
    • The Judd Lecture will occur on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. in the RRL Auditorium. Please join us!
Clinical Awards
  • Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award for Clinical Research
    • Honors physicians at the Associate level or below who have demonstrated great promise and accomplishment in clinical investigations
    • Awarded to Andrea Cercek, MD, Associate Attending Physician, Gastroenterology Service
  • Willet F. Whitmore Award for Clinical
    • Honors a clinician whose talent, dedication, and compassion reflect the standards set by Willet F. Whitmore during his more than 46 years of service at Memorial Sloan Kettering
    • Awarded to Hans Gerdes, MD, Attending Physician, Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Service; Director, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Unit 
  • C. Chester Stock Award
    • Given annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of cancer therapy
    • Awarded to John O’Shea, MD, NIH, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS); Scientific Director and Director of the NIAMS Intramural Research Program; Chief, Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch 
    • The Stock Award Lecture will occur on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. in RRL-116. Please join us!
  • The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize
    • Recognizes individuals who have made significant or groundbreaking contributions to pediatric oncology, highlighting the long-standing and future-facing partnerships between The Society and MSK and affirming the global leadership of MSK in the field of pediatric oncology
    • Awarded to Olivier Delattre, MD, PhD, Director of the Cancer Biology and Genetics, Director of the SIREDO center, Institut Curie
    • Please join us for Pediatric Grand Rounds on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at 8:30 a.m. in RRL-120.