Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D., was awarded the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hingtgen is an associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics. His research harnesses the potential of stem cells to develop new and better methods for treating terminal cancer.
Working closely with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians, Hingtgen showed how skin cells could be flipped into stem cells that hunt down and deliver cancer-killing drugs to glioblastoma, the deadliest malignant brain tumor in adults in initial preclinical studies published in Nature Communications and Science Translational Medicine. In 2015, Falcon Therapeutics was founded to advance the discovery generated in Hingtgen’s lab toward the clinic to redefine the care for patients with glioblastoma and other cancers that are currently incurable.
Michael Jay, chair of the pharmacy school’s Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics Division, described Hingtgen as an “energetic and open collaborator” who has an innate ability to ask his research questions from different perspectives and apply tools and techniques from various disciplines to produce groundbreaking results.
“His work has changed the field and is the basis of work in many cutting-edge laboratories around the world,” Jay said.
Hingtgen joined the faculty in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2012 and holds a joint appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the UNC School of Medicine.
Hingtgen is one of four UNC faculty to receive the $5,000 award. The other recipients include Joaquin E. Drut, associate professor and Melchor Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; Juan Song, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology; and Gabriel Trop, associate professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures.
The awards, made possible by the generosity of Phillip (UNC Class of 1921) and Ruth Hettleman, recognize scholarly and artistic achievement by junior tenure-track, or recently tenured, members of the faculty.