Personal Reflections

My research program was put on a positive initial trajectory the day I became a Kimmel Scholar.  Importantly, the program provided much needed funds at an early stage in my career, which allowed me to branch out into new areas that were more risky than would have been funded by traditional granting agencies… The program also provided my research program with a level of recognition and prestige that would have been much more difficult to achieve otherwise.  Thus, I view my association with the Kimmel Scholars program as a key milestone in my career, which formed the basis for its current success.

Scott Lowe, Ph.D.
Chair, Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center
Member, Cancer Biology & Genetics Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1997 Kimmel Scholar


Receiving a Kimmel Scholar grant soon after I started my lab was incredibly important for my research because I was able to fully concentrate on the experiments and training of students after a fairly short initial period of grant writing.  Unlike other starting assistant professors, I was able to focus on my science during the first few critical years and not worry about funding during this time.

Tanya Paull, Ph.D.
Professor in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
University of Texas at Austin
2001 Kimmel Scholar


Translational cancer research is oftentimes hard to get funded.  Receiving a Kimmel Scholars Award gave me confidence in being able to support my own research.  It also helped me to realize that the translation of research into the clinics is a valued endeavor, and that there is a specific niche for physician-scientists such as myself.

Linda M. Liau, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
Director, Brain Tumor Program
University of California, Los Angeles
2003 Kimmel Scholar


The funding the Kimmel Foundation provided to my lab allowed us to try experiments that colleagues told me were too risky or a waste of time.  These were the sorts of experiments that the NIH does not like to fund, at least not until they are sure such experiments are going to work.  The problem is, why do an experiment if you know it is going to work?  Funding from the Foundation allowed us to take chances.

Norman E. Sharpless, M.D.
Professor of Medicine & Genetics
Chair, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2003 Kimmel Scholar


I am extremely grateful for the support that I received from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation.  The funding provided crucial support at the critical transition from postdoctoral fellow to independently-funded faculty researcher.  The experience gained was crucial to my career development, and the resulting data formed the basis of additional successful grant applications, allowing me to expand and develop my laboratory and follow my research dreams.

Donald W. Parsons, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director, Brain Tumor Program
Texas Children’s Cancer Center
2010 Kimmel Scholar


It is a rather scary thing to be given an empty room and be told to fill it with equipment and perform exciting and creative experiments.  This is, of course, our primary aspiration, but there are many hurdles in the way.  Receiving a Kimmel Scholars Award so early in my career helped convince me that we were on a good track and gave me confidence to continue to pursue our studies even when things weren’t always going smoothly.

Jeffrey C. Rathmell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology and of Immunology
Duke University Medical Center
2004 Kimmel Scholar


Starting a laboratory is an exciting, but daunting, task.  New investigators are faced with the responsibility not only to develop an outstanding scientific program, but also to garner funds to pay for this work, at a time before a track record as an independent investigator has been established.  The Kimmel Scholars Award was instrumental in providing me with the resources to establish this reputation.  The Award money gave me the freedom to focus my efforts on new avenues of research that have potential to lead to significant advances…In addition, the Award gave me confidence that my work can stand with the best of my peers.

Sandra S. Zinkel, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology and Cell & Developmental Biology
Vanderbilt University
2006 Kimmel Scholar


For any young scientist, competition for funding is challenging.  Support from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation ensured my continued development as an independent investigator at a critical time in my career and helped to continue the development of my research programs, obtain long-term funding from the NIH, and translate our research to better treatments and cures.  I am extremely honored to have been selected as a Kimmel Scholar.

Mei Kong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology
Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope National Medical Center
2011 Kimmel Scholar


I am especially grateful that the Kimmel Foundation was willing to recognize and reward basic research – this is a philosophy that is rare but so critical to the future of science in our country.  In addition, the prestige and recognition associated with the Award was a significant boost to my career at an early stage and gave me confidence about my abilities and the potential of my research program.

Susan Biggins, Ph.D.
Member, Basic Sciences Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
2000 Kimmel Scholar