RGC Winner 2020

Dear CCI,


   We are pleased to announce the winner of the 6th Annual Richard Carroll Excellence in Research Award.   This year’s winner is January Salas-Mckee.  January is a leader in the Product Development Lab (PDL) on the 9th floor of South Pavilion Tower (SPE-9) and has been an essential cog in our translational research machine.  To name a few achievements, January led the effort to scale up the manufacturing process for Penn’s first CRISPR/CAS9 clinical trial (NYCE), developed and locked down a manufacturing process to make universal CAR T cells (PACE CAR), and in collaboration with the Gill lab, optimized the generation of gene-edited hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) combined with CAR T cells for AML patients.  The success of her efforts open FDA-reviewed Investigational New Drug applications (INDs) and new clinical trials.  In addition to her assigned projects, January has proven to be a great resource for the entire CCI.  She is always willing to help a colleague, share a protocol, and go beyond the call of duty to make sure we are all successful in developing cellular therapies to help patients. 


January proactively keeps up on the latest advances and willing shares this information with her colleagues, whether it be white papers, recently published manuscripts, or press releases.  She is passionate and an advocate of doing work correctly.  She is adept and quick-thinking with immeasurable large scale validation expertise.  She is not afraid to speak up and offer a suggestions, solutions, and objective critiques.  She welcomes challenges, and tries new things, and gives back, volunteering to mentor a local high school student intern last spring, in her spare time. 


The purpose of this award as you may remember is to acknowledge the folks behind the scenes that make things happen but often do not get recognized for their efforts-like the award’s namesake Richard Carroll.   Richard was a wonderful scientist who had an infectious love of science and working in the lab. Richard often did the jobs that did not get much fanfare to make the entire CCI program more successful in getting therapies to patients.  Richard and January would have been great friends with each sharing a passion of rigorous science and having a great sense of humor and humility.  January is truly following in Richard’s footsteps by making the CCI output greater than the sum of its individual parts.


January will get a plaque acknowledging her as the winner of the award and her name will join Shannon’s, Hong’s, Simon’s, Cynthia’s, and Tony’s on wall near the elevator.    January will also be able to attend a meeting or workshop of her choice to improve her skills as a researcher.  Richard was a firm believer that everyone doing science should always be learning new things and by allowing folks who normally don’t attend meetings to go, we further pay tribute to Richard’s ideals and values.


Please join us in congratulating January on being recognized by this award.


All the best,


Richard Carroll Award Selection Committee.