Regeneron Announces the 2020 Winners of the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation



Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
June 22, 2020 at 7:00 AM EDT

Regeneron Announces the 2020 Winners of the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., June 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced the winners of the eighth annual Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, which celebrates and rewards cutting-edge thinking from the next generation of young scientists. In total, $160,000 in prize money and donations was awarded to winners, finalists and institutions to advance innovative scientific research, with two top prizes of $50,000 each awarded to two scientists from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a $10,000 honorable mention awarded to a student from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Eight other finalists also received awards of $5,000 each.

"At Regeneron, we have always believed that science and technology are key to combating many of the truly existential threats facing humanity – whether it be disease or climate change – and the current pandemic only highlights the need to inspire and support the next generation of young scientists to take on these challenges," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. "Congratulations to these young leaders who push the boundaries of thought in science and technology – they are our future and we look forward to seeing how they help improve the world."

As part of the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, the country's leading research universities were asked to nominate top candidates in the graduate student and postdoctoral fellow categories. Submissions were reviewed by a selection committee of senior Regeneron scientists. In May 2020, finalists presented 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. This year's winners are:

  • Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz, Ph.D., NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York University, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr. Fernandez-Ruiz studies the role of hippocampal oscillations in learning and memory processing in the laboratory of György Buzsáki, M.D., Ph.D. He recently demonstrated that long-duration sharp-wave ripples, a type of hippocampal oscillatory patterns, were associated with memory, and that prolonging these ripples using optogenetic methods improved performance in rats during a spatial memory test. Dr. Fernandez-Ruiz believes that understanding the cellular and functional basis of these phenomena may ultimately lead to interventions for memory disorders.
  • Bo Xia, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Graduate Student: Mr. Xia studies gene evolution in the laboratories of Itai Yanai, Ph.D., and Jef Boeke, Ph.D. Using single-cell sequencing, he recently reported that widespread gene expression in the testis helps to maintain high DNA sequence integrity in the male germ cells, a phenomenon the paper terms "transcriptional scanning." These same expressed genes also maintain low evolution rates. Mr. Xia hopes to develop novel single-cell and spatial-resolved genomics technologies to expand our understanding of the etiology of human diseases associated with gene mutations.

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:

  • Julia Joung, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Honorable Mention, Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation by a Graduate Student: Ms. Joung develops high-throughput genetic screening methods in the laboratory of Feng Zhang, Ph.D. She and Dr. Zhang have published a protocol for conducting genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 editing and applied this method to identify and characterize long noncoding RNAs involved in melanoma drug resistance. Ms. Joung hopes that the ability to conduct large-scale genetic screens could lead to the discovery and characterization of additional noncoding RNAs involved in cancer and other diseases.

"Each year, the Regeneron Prize allows us the opportunity to be inspired by the dreams of young scientists, and this year is no exception," said Susan Croll, Ph.D., Senior Director Emeritus of Neuroscience and Director Emeritus of the Regeneron Postdoctoral Training Program at Regeneron. "These young scientists are posing complex scientific questions and bringing creativity to their answers. We look forward to seeing what they accomplish."

About Regeneron
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 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 believes that operating as a good corporate citizen is crucial to delivering on our mission. We approach corporate responsibility with three goals in mind: to improve the lives of people with serious diseases, to foster a culture of integrity and excellence and to build sustainable communities. Regeneron is proud to be included on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Civic 50 list of the most "community-minded" companies in the United States. Throughout the year, Regeneron empowers and supports employees to give back through our volunteering, pro bono and matching gift programs. Our most significant philanthropic commitments are in the area of science education, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search and the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

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

Regeneron Contacts:

Media Relations           

Investor Relations

Alexandra Bowie            

Vesna Tosic

Tel.: +1 (914) 847-3407  

Tel.: +1 (914) 847-5443 



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