Next Generation Investigator Awards

Meet this year's 2024 Symposium NGI Award Winners:

Cell & Gene Therapy Products 2024 NGI Award Winners Alkeiver Cannon Timothy Huffod Nicole Pannullo
Award Winner Bios

Alkeiver Cannon, Affini-T Therapeutics

Cannon, PhD is an immunologist with extensive experience exploring T cells in autoimmune/inflammatory disease. She received her Bachelors in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of South Carolina - Columbia in 2017 and her PhD in biomedical sciences from The University of South Carolina - School of Medicine in 2022. In 2023, she completed her postdoctoral training at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School where she explored novel microRNAs as potential therapeutics for T-cell mediated diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), colitis, and colorectal cancer. She recently obtained her first industry role where she is currently working to develop assays as an Analytical Development Scientist at Affini-T Therapeutics, a company developing specific T cell receptor engineered T cell (TCR-T) immunotherapies for solid tumors.

Timothy Hufford, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Hufford obtained his BS in microbiology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and more recently defended his PhD thesis this past Fall at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he studied adaptive cellular and genetic responses to low oxygen.

Nicole Muller, Johns Hopkins University

Muller has a BS in biochemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently a fifth year PhD candidate in the cellular and molecular medicine program at Johns Hopkins University. Her thesis work has led to a greater understanding of the genes that regulate cell fate decisions in the developing mouse retina, and she now aims to apply that knowledge to develop AAV reagents that can stimulate photoreceptor regeneration through Muller glia reprogramming. Muller glia produce progeny progenitor cells that regenerate retinal neurons after injury in certain coldblooded vertebrates, however this ability is not shared with mammals. The development of an AAV reagent that can activate this regenerative process in mammals would have clear translational potential for treating photoreceptor dystrophies, which cause vision loss in millions of people worldwide. Nicole’s work as a graduate student, in addition to personal experiences with retinal diseases, has led to her developing a keen interest in the process of getting novel therapeutic products to the clinic. After she graduates, Nicole plans on transitioning to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry to pursue a career in ophthalmic cell and gene therapy product development. She is looking forward to attending the CASSS CGTP 2024 symposium and learning from the industry leaders that will be present.

Are you looking for a chance to share your work at a scientific meeting? Next Generation Investigator Awards are an excellent opportunity for graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, or early career industrial scientists to meet, network, and participate in exchanging knowledge with industry peers from across the world with waived registration and grants to offset travel expenses.

CASSS is pleased to provide a limited number of Next Generation Investigator* (NGI) for PhD students, post-docs, and early career professionals for Cell and Gene Therapy Products Symposium 2024. Selected award winners will be required to give an oral presentation at the symposium or to write a synopsis of a CGTP session that will be posted on the website for general information. PhD students or post-doctoral fellows conducting research in academia or industry throughout the world are eligible.

Why should you apply?

As an award winner, your registration fees will be waived and you will receive a travel reimbursement grant to offset the cost of travel to the symposium. This is an excellent opportunity to meet, network, and participate in exchanging knowledge for mutual education with other members.

How do you apply?

Click the link below to complete the application. Please be prepared to submit a letter requesting consideration for the grant, proof of studentship or post-doc status, and letter of recommendation from your supervisor all in PDF form. If you have any questions, please contact the Symposium Manager, Randi Jacobs.

Application for a travel grant does not release you from the obligation to register. 

What are the requirements to apply?

All applicants must provide the following with their application:

  • Recommendation from your advisor and/or supervisor.
  • Proof of NGI* status.
  • The ability to scribe a roundtable during the Symposium or to write a synopsis of a 2024 session.

The deadline to submit applications was March 29, 2024.

For more information on CASSS Next Generation Investigator Awards, click here.

*CASSS defines NGIs as individuals that are either currently in full or nearly full-time study for a formal academic qualification (e.g. degree, PhD), or have less than 4 years from the commencement of their first postdoctoral or first professional industrial or governmental position. NGIs can be in academia, government, industry, or any other organization that participates in the field of biopharmaceutical development, and may be based anywhere in the world. Career breaks will be recognized.

"In academia and science we want to focus our efforts where they are most needed, and attending this conference gave me the opportunity to interact with people from different areas of the industry to see where we could have the greatest impact."
Adriana Coll De Peña, CE Pharm 2023 Award Winner
"The NGI award provided a pivotal opportunity to interact with individuals with diverse backgrounds."
—Franco Puleo, CGTP 2022
Award Winner

Join the CASSS Network

Join the community discussion and network with other professionals from industry, academia, and regulatory agencies.

LinkedIn  LinkedIn Group 

Facebook  X  YouTube