American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

AACR Elects New Officers, Directors and Nominating Committee


April 14, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - The members of the American Association for Cancer Research have elected Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Morris Herzstein professor of biology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, as their president-elect.

"I am honored and privileged to be selected as president-elect of the AACR, especially at a time when our understanding of cancer shows growing potential for greater benefit to cancer patients," said Blackburn. "We are at an exciting time in the war on cancer, and the AACR can be proud of its role in these efforts. However, we cannot rest and our goal must be to reduce cancer by even more advanced research into cancer treatments and prevention."

Blackburn will officially become president-elect on Monday, April 20, 2009, at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver, Colo. Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Koch Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will be sworn in as president of the AACR; he succeeds Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. DuBois served as AACR president for the 2008-2009 term and will now fulfill the role of past president.

Blackburn, Jacks and DuBois will serve in these roles for one year, comprising the period between Annual Meetings.

Blackburn's research focuses on cancer and aging, specifically on the role of telomeres, the protective ends of chromosomes that prevent the loss of essential genetic information during cell division. Throughout her career, she has been internationally recognized for her work with numerous awards, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Alfred P. Sloan Award. Blackburn is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of London, among others, and recently served as president of the American Society of Cell Biology.

Blackburn has held several leadership positions for the AACR. She currently serves as a member of the board of directors and the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up To Cancer, and as chairperson of the AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research Committee. Among her previous AACR service, she was the senior editor of Molecular Cancer Research and chairperson of the Women in Cancer Research-Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship Committee. She has received numerous awards from the AACR including the Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research and the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award.

Blackburn received her doctorate from the University of Cambridge. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and at Yale University.

New Board Members:

The following distinguished scientists were elected to serve on the board of directors from 2009 to 2012: José Baselga, M.D.; Joan Massagué, Ph.D.; Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D.; Margaret R. Spitz, M.D., M.P.H.; and Craig B. Thompson, M.D.

José Baselga, M.D., is the director of medical oncology, hematology and radiation oncology and chairman of medical oncology service at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. He is also the director of the Vall d'Hebron Oncology Research Institute and a professor of medicine at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain.

Baselga's research focuses on the clinical development of novel molecular targeted agents for the therapy of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Baselga has served the AACR in many key capacities. He currently serves as a member of the Council of Scientific Advisors, the co-chairperson for the 2009 Annual Meeting Education Committee, chairperson of the Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for International Collaboration in Cancer Research Committee, and as a member of the editorial board for Clinical Cancer Research, among others.

Joan Massagué, Ph.D., is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan chair of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, professor at the Weill-Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York and adjunct director of the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Spain.

His research focuses on investigating how growth factors, including TGF- β and BMP, signaling pathways, and gene expression programs control normal cell behavior and cancer cell metastasis.

Massagué has been very active in AACR meetings and has served as chairperson for several AACR Special Conferences. Additionally, he is a member of the editorial board for Molecular Cancer Research and recently received the Inaugural AACR Distinguished Leadership Award in Breast Cancer Research.

Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D., is the director and B.F. Byrd Jr. professor of oncology at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and professor of biochemistry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

Pietenpol is interested in the biochemical pathways that control processes of tumor suppression, development, metabolism, and aging, with an overall focus on the role of the p53 family signaling pathway in normal proliferation and tumorigenesis and on translating mechanistic findings to advances in cancer patient care and treatment in the clinical setting.

Pietenpol has been active in many AACR committees, meetings and workshops. Most recently, she has served as a member of the Women in Cancer Research-Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship Committee and the program planning committee for the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. She has also served as faculty for the "Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology" Educational Workshop and as a member of the editorial board for Cancer Research.

Margaret R. Spitz, M.D., M.P.H., is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Her research focuses on molecular epidemiology, with a particular emphasis on studying genetic and non-genetic interindividual differences in cancer susceptibility, identifying molecular markers to determine an individual's risk of developing lung cancer and predicting patient outcome, and applying these findings to promote tailored prevention and therapeutic strategies for patients.

Spitz has served the AACR in many pivotal roles. She currently serves as a member of the Council of Scientific Advisors, the Special Conferences Committee, the Ad Hoc Grants Advisory Committee, the Cancer Prevention Task Force, and the editorial board for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Craig B. Thompson, M.D., is the director and J. Samuel Staub professor at the Abramson Cancer Center, the associate vice president of cancer services at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Thompson's research focuses on characterizing biochemical mechanisms by which Bcl-2 proteins regulate cell survival and exploring how alterations in the control of cell metabolism contribute to cancer cell development and survival.

He is active in many AACR programs, and presently serves as a member of the Council of Scientific Advisors and the editorial board for Molecular Cancer Research. He was co-chairperson of the 2008 Annual Meeting Program Committee, chairperson of the 2008 Nominating Committee and has served on multiple award committees.

AACR Nominating Committee:

The following renowned scientists have been elected to serve on the Nominating Committee for the 2009 to 2011 term: Stephen B. Baylin, M.D.; Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D.; Sara A. Courtneidge, Ph.D.; and Harold L. Moses, M.D.

The members of the nominating committee develop candidate slates for president-elect and the board of directors. With the board of directors, they will also choose the candidates for the next nominating committee slate.

Stephen B. Baylin, M.D., is the deputy director of the Oncology Center and the associate director for research at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, chief of the Tumor Biology Division at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig professor in basic cancer research, professor of oncology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an active staff member in medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D., is the director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, distinguished professor of medicine and a member of the Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the Moores Cancer Center at the University of San Diego in La Jolla, Calif.

Sara A. Courtneidge, Ph.D., is the director of academic affairs, director of the Tumor Microenvironment Program and a professor at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, Calif. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego.

Harold L. Moses, M.D., is a director emeritus of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, and director of the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories, the Hortense B. Ingram professor of molecular oncology and professor of cancer biology, medicine and pathology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.


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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

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