Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), is the chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the oldest cancer research organization in the world. Under her visionary leadership, membership has grown from about 3,000 members to 40,000 in 120 countries and the AACR’s portfolio of peer-reviewed scientific journals has increased from one to eight.
Foti progressed through several key management roles in scientific publishing to become chief executive officer. She joined the AACR as an editorial assistant for Cancer Research under the editorship of her first mentor, Michael B. Shimkin, MD. She was rapidly promoted to managing editor under the editorship of Sidney Weinhouse, PhD, and became the youngest managing editor of a major scientific journal in the country. Foti has since launched seven major peer-reviewed scientific journals: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Prevention Research; Cancer Discovery; and Cancer Immunology Research. She also helped launch Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors, and their families and caregivers.
A graduate of Temple University, Foti has been one of the most influential voices in advancing the field of cancer research, both in the United States and abroad. She was elected president of three professional societies in scholarly publishing and in cancer research. She has also served as a board member, committee member, and consultant to a number of other nonprofit organizations. There is a legacy of young women and minority scientists whose careers have been advanced as a result of her mentorship and support.
Under Foti’s leadership, the AACR has served with distinction as the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). In this capacity, Foti and the AACR have brought expertise to their work with SU2C, especially in the scientific peer review of projects, scientific project management, and administration.
Foti’s leadership was instrumental in the production of the landmark AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011 and the equally impactful subsequent reports in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, all of which celebrate the many ways that our members have made research count for cancer patients, with a focus on advances in the field.
Foti’s contributions have been widely recognized by numerous awards from organizations around the world. Her lengthy list of formal recognitions includes honorary degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Rome La Sapienza and the University of Catania in Sicily, and an honorary degree in medicine from the University CEU of San Pablo in Madrid. She was recognized as a 2015 honoree of “the one hundred” by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and received the 2015 Children’s Champion Award from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the 2014 Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Leadership Award from Friends of Cancer Research, the 2014 Morton M. Kligerman Visiting Professorship Award from the University of Pennsylvania, the 2013 Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award from Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the 2013 Distinguished Partner in Hope Award during the Annual Colorectal Cancer Conference hosted by the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.