AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, funded by Susan G. Komen® Recipients

This award recognizes a scientist whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of breast cancer.

2016 Award Recipient
Fergus J. Couch, PhD
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Dr. Fergus J. Couch presented his award lecture, “Decoding Breast Cancer Predisposition Genes,” Friday, Dec. 9, at 11:30 a.m. CT, during the 39th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Dr. Fergus J. Couch is honored for his seminal work in identifying the inherited genes and mutations that predispose to breast cancer.

Dr. Couch is a professor and chair of the Division of Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Health Sciences Research. Much of his research has focused on determining the clinical relevance of inherited variants of uncertain significance (VUS) in breast cancer predisposition genes using genetic epidemiology and molecular biology approaches, and as a founder and member of the Evidence-based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles (ENIGMA) consortium. Dr. Couch is also a leader in the BRCA Challenge and the Prospective Registry of Multiplex Testing (PROMPT) initiatives aimed at understanding alterations in cancer predisposition genes.

Dr. Couch is a distinguished national leader in cancer genetics. He is a co-founder of the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA), a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Consortium (TNBCC), and is a long-term member of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Working with members of these consortia, Dr. Couch has led genome-wide association studies to identify common genetic variants that influence risk of estrogen receptor (ER) negative and triple negative breast cancer and modify risks of breast cancer among carriers of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

In more recent research, Dr. Couch has been working to estimate risks of breast cancer associated with pathogenic variants identified by clinical genetic testing using multigene panels, and is leading an effort to identify genetic factors that account for the missing heritability of breast cancer.

 Award Recipients

  • 2016: Fergus J. Couch
  • 2015: Mohamed Bentires-Alj
  • 2014: Yiban Kang
  • 2013: Jason S. Carroll
  • 2012: Kornelia Polyak
  • 2011: Ramon E. Parsons
  • 2010: Klaus Pantel
  • 2009: Charles M. Perou
  • 2008: Douglas Easton