Michelle Monje, Stanford University School of Medicine, received the 2023 Richard Lounsbery Award.

Monje’s pioneering work has fundamentally changed our view about the communication between neurons and glial cells in normal brain function and in neurological disorders, particularly brain cancers.

Monje and her team investigate the role of neuronal activity over the control of both physiological and pathological processes of brain development, maturation, and oncogenesis, with particular focus on both the origins of pediatric brain tumors and the consequences of cancer treatment. Her groundbreaking findings showed that neuronal activity promotes adaptive myelination important for cognition and that neuronal activity drives malignant glioma progression through neuron-to-glioma synapses and paracrine factors.  

As both a physician and researcher, Monje plays an active role in bringing her findings into clinical settings. In collaboration with other labs, she identified a molecule on the surface of gliomas to target with CAR T-cell therapy, resulting in the virtual elimination of the tumors in mice. She is currently leading clinical trials for these and other treatment methods. 

The Richard Lounsbery Award is a $75,000 prize given in alternate years by the National Academy of Sciences and the French Académie des Sciences, to young (no older than 45) French and American scientists to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement in biology and medicine.  In addition to honoring scientific excellence, the award is intended to stimulate research and encourage reciprocal scientific exchanges between the United States and France. The Richard Lounsbery Award was established by Vera Lounsbery in honor of her husband, Richard Lounsbery, and is supported by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.


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