This is the second year of the Rangos Award competition, which is funded by John G. Rangos Sr., chairman of the Rangos Family Foundation.

Rangos designed the award to generate interest and research about cures for cancer.

"Every family knows someone who has suffered from cancer. Some forms of the disease can be cured even after they have spread, but most are not," Rangos said in a press release.

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"The goal of the competition is to inspire original ideas and innovative approaches. When cancer is finally cured, I believe it will be cured by someone at Johns Hopkins," he said.

Howard grew up in North Andover, Mass., and, after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, moved to Catonsville eight years ago with his wife, Valerie.

He said he entered the competition last year with a very similar proposal that didn't meet the criteria well enough.

This year, he submitted the same proposal with a few adjustments.

"They said, 'Can you come up with a creative idea to cure metastatic cancer?' and I said to myself, 'Shoot, I did that last year,' " Howard said.

"I feel like I had a better answer this year than I did last year," he said.

Chung said she was very proud of Howard and his proposal.

"Needless to say, Jason is very bright and very creative, and he's also a great communicator," Chung said.

"So it's just very rewarding to see a bright person from your lab get public recognition," she said.

"And I think that as P.I. (principal investigator) of a lab, also as a person who has been a part of his training, it's just very rewarding to see your trainee doing so well," Chung said.

Howard said he will use his winnings to create a college fund for his 2-year-old daughter, Melanie, and his 1-year-old son, Mark.

"I'm going to let the magic of compounded interest work for them for college," Howard said.

"Maybe they can buy a textbook with that," he said.

The other four finalists who were chosen from 54 contestants, also received cash awards.

• Dr. Ashwin Ram, 27, a resident in Radiation Oncology, won $12,500 for second place;

• Hogan Tang, 32, a postdoctoral fellow in Biological Chemistry, won $6,250 for third place;

• Dr. Sylvie Stacy, 27, a resident in General Preventive Medicine, won $3,150 for fourth place;

• Xiaochuan Yang, 27, a postdoctoral fellow in Oncology-Hematologic Malignancies, won $1,500 for fifth place.

This story has been updated.