2024 - Stamatis Papathanasiou

We are delighted to announce that Stamatis Papathanasiou has been selected as the recipient of the 2024 EACR-Mark Foundation-Pezcoller Foundation Rising Star Award. This prestigious award, launched in 2023, recognises an exceptional cancer researcher each year and aims to support groundbreaking projects that have the potential to make significant contributions to the field.

Stamatis Papathanasiou, Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz, Germany, was chosen for this award based on the high quality of his project proposal on ‘Mechanisms of cellular response to errors in mitosis: a new, non-genetic approach to an old question’.
An independent review panel consisting of representatives of the EACR, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and the Pezcoller Foundation, unanimously chose him as the winner.

His research focuses on deciphering how errors during cell division could cause heritable transcriptional dysregulation and epigenetic instability, which can in turn contribute to cell senescence, ageing and cancer.

About the Winner
Stamatis studied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the Biology department of University of Crete in Greece. He then received his Master’s and PhD in Molecular Medicine from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2015. He was awarded the “Fotis Kafatos Award of Excellence” for his PhD studies deciphering how cardiomyocyte cytoskeleton is dysregulated in heart failure. He then moved to Boston to continue his research in Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Cell Biology department of Harvard Medical School, where he focused on understanding basic mechanisms of tumorigenesis that are mediated by errors in mitosis and the generation of abnormal nuclear structures. A prominent example of such structures is the micronuclei, aberrant nuclear formations that form as a result of mitotic errors and are prevalent in cancer. Stamatis first showed that mitotic errors and micronuclei formation is a previously unknown on-target side effect of CRISPR-Cas9 human genome editing and that this can lead to genomic instability. He then developed new systems to study the transcription and chromatin state of these abnormal structures. With his recent work Stamatis showed that they can also generate heritable alterations in transcription and chromatin state. This work suggested that abnormal nuclear structures from errors in mitosis are a new source of epigenetic instability and transcriptional heterogeneity, which opens new fascinating directions on uncovering novel mechanisms of tumorigenesis with potential therapeutic implications.

Stamatis Papathanasiou commented “Receiving this award is a huge honor and great support for our work. I am truly thankful to the EACR, the Pezcoller Foundation and the Mark Foundation for recognizing our research ideas and motivating us to further tackle unknowns in basic mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
“We are thrilled to move forward towards understanding how errors in mitosis affect chromatin organization and lead to epigenome instability. Our hope is to uncover unknown mechanisms of selective adaptation in cancer which would potentially expose vulnerabilities for novel therapeutic approaches.”

As part of the recognition, Stamatis will accept the award and deliver the Award Lecture at the EACR 2024 Congress (Rotterdam, Netherlands, 10-13 June 2024). This gathering of leading scientists and researchers from around the world offers a platform to exchange knowledge, foster collaborations, and inspire new breakthroughs in cancer research.
In Autumn 2024, he will come to Trento for a Lecture at the University of Trento - CIBIO Department.

Look out for the 2025 Rising Star Award

Preparations are underway for the 2025 EACR-Mark Foundation-Pezcoller Foundation Rising Star Award. We encourage researchers and scientists in the field of cancer research to look out for the announcement in 2024 of the call for applications.

Pezcoller Award Lecture from Stamatis Papathanasiou at the EACR Congress, Rotterdam, 10 June 2024
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