Henry T. Lynch, MD

Henry T. Lynch, MD
​Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research; Chairman, Department of Preventive Medicine, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska

Henry T. Lynch, MD | Class of 2016

​An icon in the fields of cancer genetics and population studies, Dr. Lynch is often referred to as "the father of cancer genetics" as well as "the father of hereditary cancer detection and prevention" for his paradigm shifting work related to the characterization of genetic susceptibility to cancer in at risk populations. He was the first to postulate and prove that certain types of cancers could be hereditary instead of solely caused by environmental factors, as previously believed. 

Dr. Lynch began his research to define the heritability of cancer by tracking and analyzing subpopulations of Nebraska families who had a history of primary tumors with early age of onset. By documenting the cancer incidence within such families, Dr. Lynch was able to ascertain that some primary tumors such as tumors of the breast, colon, or ovaries follow a Mendelian pattern of inheritance, proving that prediction of an individual's risk of developing a particular cancer type could be extrapolated from their family cancer history and be used to determine necessary clinical surveillance and treatments. 

One such predisposing condition highlighted by Dr. Lynch was hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), an autosomal dominant genetic condition that is now known to convey high risk for the development of many cancer types, especially colorectal and endometrial cancers. As a result of his efforts to characterize the condition, and in order to recognize that cancers other than colorectal are integral to the syndrome, HNPCC is now commonly referred to as Lynch syndrome. Dr. Lynch's work was also instrumental in identifying the hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome and the familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome, including the latter's association with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Career Highlights

2016  Honorary Fellowship, American College of Physicians
2014  Gynecologic Oncology Innovation Award, Foundation for Women’s Cancers
2010  AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research
2009  Impact Award, National Consortium of Breast Centers
2009  Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Research Award, Nebraska Oncology Society
2003  Jacqueline Seroussi Annual Award for Cancer Research, Jacqueline Seroussi Memorial Foundation, Tel Aviv University
2001  Lifetime Achievement Award in Inherited Pancreatic Diseases, International Association of Pancreatology
1998  Albion O. Bernstein, M.D., Award, Medical
Society of the State of New York
1998  Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research, Susan G. Komen®
1997  AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
1997  Pezcoller Foundation-European School of Oncology Recognition for Contribution to Oncology
1997  Medal of Honor for Clinical Research, American Cancer Society
1987  Ungerman-Lubin Lecture Prize for Outstanding Cancer Research
1986  Distinguished Research Career Award, Creighton University
1960  MD, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston