Mina J. Bissell, PhD
Distinguished Scientist and Director, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California
A champion of cancer research who has focused on understanding the underlying basis of cancer initiation and progression, Dr. Bissell has developed a new paradigm that a cancer cell’s microenvironment is as important to the process of carcinogenesis as the genetic defects that cause a given cell to become cancerous.
Dr. Bissell’s research on the comprehensive, biological causes of breast cancer has sparked an increasing number of discoveries associated with how the environment and neighboring cells of a cancer cell or tumor are able to influence the growth and spread of those particular cells. Her group has demonstrated that tissue architecture provides cancer-driving genes with instructions. In three-dimensional cultured human cells and in animals, breast cancer cells harboring tumor-driving mutations can be induced to behave normally if their microenvironment is restored to normal. They also have shown the relevance of polarity to tumor drug resistance. Whether these findings can be extrapolated to human therapy is now being explored.
2017 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research2012 AACR Distinguished Achievement Award in Breast Cancer Research2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory2010 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC2010 Elected Member, Royal Society of Chemistry2007 Elected Fellow, American Philosophical Society2007 AACR-Pezcoller Foundation International Award for Cancer Research2008 Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society2003 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction, Susan G. Komen Foundation2002 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences1999 AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award1997 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine1997 President, American Society of Cell Biology1996 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, U.S. Department of Energy1994 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science1985 First Joseph Sadusk Award for Breast Cancer Research1969 PhD, Harvard University