Nav: Home

Feng Zhang receives 2016 New York Stem Cell Foundation -- Robertson Stem Cell Prize

October 25, 2016

New York, NY (October 25, 2016) - The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) announced today that Feng Zhang, PhD, is the 2016 recipient of the NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize for his pioneering advances to edit human and plant genomes using CRISPR-Cas9.

"We are particularly pleased to recognize Feng with the NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize," explained Susan L. Solomon, CEO and Co-founder of NYSCF. "A 2014 NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator and member of our outstanding Innovator community, his work represents a new frontier in research that has already dramatically changed the scientific and medical landscape, ushering in new treatments and therapies that have never before been possible."

Dr. Zhang is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Core Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and the W.M. Keck Career Development Professor in Biomedical Engineering in the Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT.

His development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system and seminal 2013 Science paper where he described successful gene editing using the technique in human cells opened an entirely new arm of scientific research and inquiry. Critically, the CRISPR-Cas9 system and later advances, also developed by Zhang, are easy to execute with almost endless possibility for new research enabling scientists to change, delete and replace any gene of any animal. This system has unquestionably accelerated research around the world that will benefit human health.

"It is really an honor for me and everyone in my team to be recognized for the work we are doing, and I am excited to apply the genome editing tools that we have developed to study complex human diseases," said Dr. Zhang. "This prize will further our work to develop and apply molecular tools to identify genetic variants involved in disease phenotypes and refining these tools for therapeutic use."

Previously, Dr. Zhang has received numerous awards and honors, including the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, the Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, named one of Nature's "10 people who mattered in 2013," The Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, and recently, the Canada Gairdner International Award and the Tang Prize.

"Gene editing using RNA guided endonucleases has opened entirely new frontiers for regenerative medicine, and Dr. Zhang's pioneering work in this area has ignited a new era of discovery that will transform the way we study and treat human disease," said Amy Wagers, PhD, 2013 NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipient and NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Awards Jury member from Harvard University. "I am so happy to see him recognized by the 2016 NYSCF - Roberson Stem Cell Prize, acknowledging the profound impact of his innovation and insight for scientists and patients around the globe."

The NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize has been awarded annually since 2011 to an outstanding young stem cell scientist in recognition of significant and path breaking translational stem cell research. All NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipients receive $200,000 to be used for research purposes at their discretion.

Previous recipients of the Robertson Prize include:
  • 2015 - Franziska Michor, PhD, Professor of Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, for her research using quantitative approaches to optimize cancer therapies.

  • 2014 - Marius Wernig, PhD, Associate Professor in the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine, for his research directly converting skin cells into functional neurons.

  • 2013 - Amy Wagers, PhD, Professor at Harvard University, for her work on blood and muscle stem cells.

  • 2012 - Kazutoshi Takahashi, PhD, Junior Associate Professor, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, for his work founding the field of iPS cell research in the laboratory of Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, 2012 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine.

  • 2011 - Peter Coffey, DPhil, Director to the London Project to Cure Blindness at University College London, for his research on using embryonic stem cells to cure age-related macular degeneration.

About The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 140 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including the NYSCF - Druckenmiller Fellows, the NYSCF - Robertson Investigators, the NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute employs over 45 researchers in New York, and is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM. NYSCF focuses on translational research in a model designed to overcome the barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration. For more information, visit

New York Stem Cell Foundation

Related Regenerative Medicine Articles:

Keratin scaffolds could advance regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for humans
Researchers at Mossakowski Medical Research Center of the Polish Academy of Science have developed a simple method for preparing 3D keratin scaffold models which can be used to study the regeneration of tissue.
New prize-winning research highlights potential of immune intervention in improving regenerative medicine
Joana Neves is the 2019 grand prize winner of the Sartorius & Science Prize for Regenerating Medicine & Cell Therapy, for work in mice that offers a promising approach to improve the outcome of regenerative stem cell-based therapies aimed at delaying age-related degenerative diseases.
NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.
A new material for regenerative medicine capable to control cell immune response
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with the University of Montana (USA) proposed a new promising material for regenerative medicine for recovery of damaged tissues and blood vessels.
Optoceutics: A new technique using light for regenerative medicine
Researchers in Italy at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia used visible light together with photo-sensitive and biocompatible materials to facilitate the formation of new blood vessels in vitro.
Major stem cell discovery to boost research into development and regenerative medicine
A new approach has enabled researchers to create Expanded Potential Stem Cells (EPSCs) of both pig and human cells.
Spinning-prism microscope helps gather stem cells for regenerative medicine
Pluripotent stem cells are crucial to regenerative medicine, but better screening methods are needed to isolate safe and effective cells for medical use.
'Cellular dust' provides new hope for regenerative medicine
While stem cells have the most therapeutic potential, the benefits of regenerative medicine may best be mobilised using extracellular vesicles (EVs), also known in the past as 'cellular dust'.
New stem cell found in lung, may offer target for regenerative medicine
Newly identified stem cells in the lung that multiply rapidly after a pulmonary injury may offer an opportunity for innovative future treatments that harness the body's ability to regenerate.
Regenerative medicine in society: Interdisciplinary perspectives
A new two-part Special Focus Issue from the leading MEDLINE-indexed journal Regenerative Medicine explores research and perspectives on key issues impacting innovation within the field.
More Regenerative Medicine News and Regenerative Medicine Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at