Lewis C. Cantley, PhD

Lewis C. Cantley, PhD
​Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor, Director, Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, Affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York

Lewis C. Cantley, PhD | Class of 2014

A leading cancer researcher whose transformative research into the mechanisms that drive the development of cancer has encouraged new approaches to therapy, Dr. Cantley is credited with discovering a family of enzymes that are fundamental to cell growth. His most significant contribution to cancer research has been his 1988 discovery of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway. This work revealed how biochemical signaling pathways control normal cell growth and trigger the development of cancer when they are defective. His demonstration of how PI3K is activated by growth factors and oncogenes, coupled with the delineation of the PI3K pathway, including Akt/PKB, have been critically important for the development of personalized cancer therapies. Dr. Cantley’s work has also indicated that PI3K is a significant factor in both insulin signaling and immune cell signaling, which has major implications for the treatment of diabetes and other immune-related diseases.

Dr. Cantley’s passion for science has been inspired, in part, by seminal biochemical and signaling studies conducted in the 1960s by Jacque Monod, Peter Mitchel, Efraim Racker, Edwin Krebs, and Edmund Fischer. His own early research, directed by Gordon Hammes at Cornell University, concentrated on protein conformational changes and enzyme kinetics. Importantly, his early focus on the structure and function of metabolic enzymes has been fundamental to his current work, which continues to revolve around defining the regulatory roles of cellular phophoinositides and cellular metabolism. Dr. Cantley is a leader of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team, “Targeting PI3K inWomen’s Cancer,” and serves as founding co-editor-in-chief of Cancer Discovery, one of AACR’s newest journals.

Career Highlights

2015  AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship Award
2013  Inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
2012-2015  Board of Directors, AACR
2011-Present  Co-Editor-in-Chief, Cancer Discovery
2009  Rolf Luft Award, Karolinska Institute
2005  Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research
2002  Caledonian Prize Lectureship in Biomedical Science, Royal Society of Edinburgh
2001  Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
2000  Heinrich Wieland Prize, Boehringer Ingelheim
1999  Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1998  Avanti Award in Lipids, ASBMB
1975  PhD, Cornell University