News Release

July 18, 2019 at 7:30 AM EDT

Regeneron Announces the 2019 Winners of the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., July 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) announced the winners of the seventh annual Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation. The country's leading research universities were asked to nominate top candidates for the Regeneron Prize in the 'graduate student' and 'postdoctoral fellow' categories. In total $155,000 in prize money and donations was awarded to finalists, winners and institutions. Regeneron's selection committee awarded the top Regeneron Prizes to scientists from the University of California, San Francisco and The Rockefeller University, who each received $50,000 in prize money. In addition, one student from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was awarded a $10,000 honorable mention.

"The Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation recognizes inventive, curious and talented young scientists who are at the forefront of the next generation of medical breakthroughs," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. "Mankind desperately needs innovative new solutions to the very real threats we face – from climate change to increasing disease burden. Lost in the current dialogue around healthcare costs is the fact that long-term health solutions depend on innovative new approaches to prevent and cure diseases. There is nothing more important than identifying, encouraging and incentivizing the next generation of great young scientists to take on these critical challenges. We celebrate their work, and the inspiration they provide to other students pursuing science to improve human health."

Submissions were reviewed by a selection committee of senior Regeneron scientists. In May 2019, finalists visited Regeneron to tour the campus and present their 'dream' research proposals in biomedical research, which offered insight into each nominee's creativity and ability to think independently as scientists.

The two Regeneron Prize winners each received a $50,000 cash prize, and the institutions nominating them received a $5,000 donation to support their seminar series. This year's winners are:

  • Kara McKinley, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr. McKinley studies cell patterns and specialization, using intestinal cells to understand cell and tissue organization.1 She hopes to leverage her expertise to develop novel in vitro models of complex tissues to study the development and function of normal and diseased tissue. Her work provides a framework for identifying mechanisms of disease in a wide variety of diseases resulting from disorganization of tissues.
  • Samantha Larsen, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Graduate Student: In her recently completed graduate work, Dr. Larsen studied inflammatory memory, focusing on the skin as a model for how stem cells develop memory following an inflammatory event and the impact on long-term tissue integrity.2,3 Her work enhances understanding of the link between inflammation and tissue changes, including proliferative changes such as those that occur in cancer and chronic inflammatory disorders. She hopes that by fully comprehending the long-term impacts of inflammation on stem cells, we can learn to manipulate the response to an inflammatory stimulus to maintain any beneficial features while limiting those leading to disease.

In addition, this year Regeneron's selection committee identified a scientist to receive a $10,000 cash prize as an honorable mention. This year's honorable mention is:

  • Sydney Lavoie, Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Honorable Mention, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Graduate Student: Dr. Lavoie recently completed her doctoral work studying relationships between the gut microbiota and diseases of the gut. She has described the role of gut microbiota in the development of colorectal cancer and Crohn's disease.4 She hopes that her work will not only lead to novel therapeutic pathways in intestinal disease, but also to an understanding of how the gut microbiota can be harnessed to improve systemic health.

Seven additional finalists received $5,000 individual prizes.

"The Regeneron Prize has seen some of the best and brightest young minds showcase their innovative dream projects over the past seven years," said Susan Croll, Ph.D., Senior Director Emeritus of Neuroscience and Director of the Regeneron Postdoctoral Training Program at Regeneron. "These impressive scientists prove once again how powerful and innovative young minds are. As early-career biomedical scientists, they have great potential to advance their respective fields and we are eager to see not only what they accomplish, but how they inspire others in the future."

Requests for applications are distributed to academic institutions late each fall. Institutions are asked to nominate two graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows. In addition to the dream project proposals, submissions must include a curriculum vitae and samples of publications that enable the selection committee to review each nominee's scholarly productivity.

About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to seven FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, infectious diseases and rare diseases.

Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite® technologies, such as VelocImmune® which produces optimized fully-human antibodies, and ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world.

For additional information about the company, please visit or follow @Regeneron on Twitter.

Regeneron Media Relations
Ella Campbell
Tel: +1 914-847-7017


  1. McKinley, K.L., Stuurman, N., Royer, L.A., Schartner, C., Castillo-Azofeifa, D., Delling, M., Klein, O.D., and Vale, R.D. (2018). Cellular aspect ratio and cell division mechanics underlie the patterning of cell progeny in diverse mammalian epithelia. Elife 7. doi: 10.7554/eLife.36739.
  2. Naik S, Larsen SB, Cowley CJ, & Fuchs. Two to tango: dialogue between immunity and stem cells in health and disease. Cell, 175, P908-920. November 2018. PMID: 30388451.
  3. Naik S*, Larsen SB*, Gomez NC, Alaverdyan K, Sendoel A, Yuan S, Polak, L Kulukian A, Chai S & Fuchs E. Inflammatory Memory Sensitizes Skin Epithelial Stem Cells to Tissue Damage. Nature, 550, 475-480. October 2017. PMID: 29045388 Highlighted in Nature, Nature Immunology, Immunity, Cell Stem Cell, Science Signaling Papers of Note, Science Daily, and Faculty of 1000. *Equal Contribution.
  4. Lavoie S, Conway KL, Lassen KG, Jijon HB, Pan H, Chun E, Michaud M, Lang JK, Gallini Comeau CA, Dreyfuss JM, Glickman JN, Vlamakis H, Ananthakrishnan A, Kostic A, Garrett WS, Xavier RJ. The Crohn's disease polymorphism, ATG16L1 T300A, alters the gut microbiota and enhances the local Th1/Th17 response. eLife. (2019).

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