AACR Announces Recipients of its 2021 Scientific Achievement Awards and Lectureships
Awardees to be recognized at the virtual AACR Annual Meeting 2021
PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor the following cancer researchers, physician-scientists, advocates, and policymakers for their achievements during the virtual AACR Annual Meeting 2021, to be held April 10-15 and May 17-21.
This award was established to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a collective body of work. These contributions, whether in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.
Frederick W. Alt, PhD, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics and a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. Alt will receive the AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research for his discovery of gene amplification in mammalian cancer cells, establishing oncogene amplification as a tumor progression mechanism, elucidating non-homologous end-joining, and revolutionizing the understanding of how genomic rearrangements form and how they contribute to cancer.
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research: Nicholas E. Navin, PhD (Photo)
This award recognizes an early-career investigator for meritorious achievements in basic cancer research.
Nicholas E. Navin, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Genetics, Division of Basic Sciences; director of the CPRIT Single Cell Genomics Center; and co-director of the Advanced Technology Genomics Core at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Navin will receive the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research for his seminal contributions to the understanding of genome evolution and intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer. The award also recognizes Navin for his invention of single-cell DNA sequencing, which has impacted many diverse fields of biology and biomedicine and has directly contributed to the establishment of the single-cell genomics field.
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research: Cynthia Wolberger, PhD (Photo)This award is presented for outstanding, novel, and significant chemistry research that has led to important contributions in basic cancer research, translational cancer research, cancer diagnosis, the prevention of cancer, or the treatment of patients with cancer.
Cynthia Wolberger, PhD, is a professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. Wolberger will receive the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research for her pioneering structural studies elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying combinatorial regulation of transcription, ubiquitin signaling, and epigenetic histone modifications. Her studies have collectively transformed drug discovery and development efforts worldwide.
This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the education and training of cancer scientists and physicians at any career level and in any area of cancer research.
Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FAACR, is a distinguished professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona; the Virginia G. Piper Distinguished Chair for Innovative Cancer Research at HonorHealth Clinical Research Institute; the Margaret Givan Larkin Endowed Chair in Developmental Cancer Therapeutics at Hoag Family Cancer Institute; the chief scientific officer for US Oncology Research; a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona; and a distinguished professor, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, at City of Hope in Duarte, California. With this inaugural award, Von Hoff is being recognized for his groundbreaking accomplishments as a dedicated and inspirational educator, for his sustained scientific innovation that has accelerated advances in cancer science and medicine, and for his extraordinary contributions to the education and training of thousands of clinical cancer investigators.
This award recognizes a true champion of cancer research whose leadership and extraordinary achievements in cancer research have had a major impact on the field. Such achievements may include contributions to the acceleration of progress against cancer, raising national or international awareness of the importance of cancer research, or other ways of demonstrating a sustained extraordinary commitment to cancer research.
Douglas R. Lowy, MD, FAACR, is chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology; principal deputy director and distinguished investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and head of the Signaling and Oncogenesis Section at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland. Lowy will receive the AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research for his steadfast leadership of the NCI since 2010, his seminal fundamental research that has led to the development of three FDA-approved HPV vaccines, and his leadership contributions associated with the NIH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AACR Team Science Award: St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team (Photo)
This award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovative and meritorious science that has advanced or likely will advance our fundamental knowledge of cancer, or a team that has applied existing knowledge to advance the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team will receive the AACR Team Science Award for its significant contributions to the pediatric cancer research community, including more than 319 published manuscripts, 44 patent applications, a new clinical trials network, more than $118 million raised to support innovative research, and more than 1,113 children treated in early-phase clinical trials. Many of the children treated in these trials demonstrated durable complete responses. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team co-leaders are John M. Maris, MD, and Crystall L. Mackall, MD. Maris is a pediatric oncologist and the Giulio D’Angio Chair in Neuroblastoma Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and professor of pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Crystal L. Mackall, MD, is the Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor and a professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine; co-executive director of the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine; founding director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy; associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute; leader of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program; and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford, Stanford, California.
AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention: Stephen J. Chanock, MD (Photo)
This award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.
Stephen J. Chanock, MD, is the director of the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory and director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Chanock will receive the AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention for his pioneering role in the discovery and characterization of cancer susceptibility alleles, his paradigm-shifting contributions to the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention, and his visionary interdisciplinary approaches to cancer research, which have impacted and continue to impact investigators worldwide.
This award recognizes an active scientist whose outstanding and innovative research has had a major impact on the cancer field and has the potential to stimulate new directions in cancer immunology.
Ton Schumacher, PhD, FAACR, is a senior faculty member of the Department of Molecular Oncology and Immunology in the Oncode Institute at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam; and a professor of immunotechnology at the Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. Schumaker will receive the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology for his groundbreaking work that has defined how the human immune system recognizes cancer cells, and for developing innovative new technologies to determine how such recognition may be strengthened for therapeutic purposes. His research has led to the ability to examine tumor-specific immune responses and harness this knowledge to develop more specific and effective cancer immunotherapies.
AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Award for Outstanding Basic Cancer Research: Carol L. Prives, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award is intended to recognize an individual who has made outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.
Carol L. Prives, PhD, FAACR, is the Da Costa Professor of Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Herbert and Florence Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics at Columbia University, New York. Prives will receive the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Award for Outstanding Basic Cancer Research for discovering that p53 is a DNA sequence-dependent transcriptional regulator and when mutated, p53 possesses novel oncogenic functions. This award also recognizes Prives for identifying p53 and Mdm2 stress signal-induced regulatory mechanisms, and for revealing novel pathways by which p53 functions to suppress cell growth and promote cell death.
AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship: Aviv Regev, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding personal innovation in science and whose position as a thought leader in fields relevant to cancer research has the potential to inspire creative thinking and new directions in cancer research. The recipient is selected by the AACR President.
Aviv Regev, PhD, FAACR, is executive vice president of Genentech Research and Early Development; a professor (on leave) in the Department of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and a core member (on leave) of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Regev will receive the AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship for her extraordinary scientific contributions to applying computational modeling to our understanding of molecular circuits and for developing new bioinformatic technologies in order to study cellular behavior in response to genetic and environmental changes, cellular differentiation, evolution, and disease.
AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research: Brigitte C. Widemann, MD (Photo)
This award recognizes outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research.
Brigitte C. Widemann, MD, is chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch; head of the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Section; and senior investigator and deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Widemann will receive the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research for her relentless and seminal contributions to the understanding of genetic cancer predisposition, the development of novel therapies for predisposition syndromes and rare pediatric cancers, and her unwavering leadership of clinical trials. This includes clinical trials that have resulted in FDA approval of the first-in-class MEK inhibitor, selumetinib, for the treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1 tumors.
AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship: Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP (London) (Photo)
This lectureship recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research.
Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP (London), is a clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology in the Department of Medical Oncology; director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities; and associate director of Diversity Affairs at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. Mitchell will receive the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship for her unparalleled efforts to support the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research. The lectureship also honors her for her pioneering research dedicated to working with underserved populations in an effort to elucidate the fundamental drivers of cancer in such communities, specifically breast and prostate cancer in African American populations.
AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship: Mina J. Bissell, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award recognizes an individual scientist whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer, and who embodies the dedication of Princess Takamatsu to multinational collaborations.
Mina J. Bissell, PhD, FAACR, is a distinguished scientist in the Division of Biological Systems and Engineering at the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California. Bissell will receive the AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship for her trailblazing contributions to the fundamental understanding of cancer, including her characterization of the importance of the tumor microenvironment and extracellular matrix in the regulation of gene expression and tumorigenesis. She also is being recognized for her invention of 3-dimensional organoid culture technology, and for serving as a relentless supporter of research collaborations and mentorship of early-stage trainees and investigators.
AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research: Crystal L. Mackall, MD (Photo)
This award recognizes an individual in any sector who has significantly contributed to any area of pediatric cancer research, resulting in the fundamental improvement of the understanding and/or treatment of pediatric cancer.
Crystal L. Mackall, MD, is the Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor and a professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine; co-executive director of the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine; founding director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy; associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute; leader of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program; and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford, Stanford, California. Mackall will receive the AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research for her pioneering contributions to the fields of pediatric oncology, immunology, and immunotherapeutics, including her discovery of the role of IL-7 in T-cell homeostasis. The award also honors her significant efforts to advance the use of CAR T-cell therapies, and for consistent and ongoing translational research dedicated to establishing novel treatments for pediatric cancer patients.
AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research: Nima Sharifi, MD (Photo)
This award recognizes a worthy cancer researcher who has conducted highly meritorious translational and clinical cancer research anywhere in the world and who has not yet reached 51 years of age at the time of the award presentation.
Nima Sharifi, MD, is director of the Center for Genitourinary Malignancies Research at the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic; the Kendrick Family Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research at the Cleveland Clinic; and a professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. Sharifi will receive the AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research for his pivotal contributions to the understanding of how steroid metabolism contributes to prostate cancer progression, defining the first example of a gain-of-function steroidogenic enzyme missense mutation that permits dihydrotestosterone synthesis from adrenal precursors. In a series of clinical studies, he illustrated that this missense mutation represents an effective predictive biomarker in castration-resistant prostate cancer.
AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship: Marsha A. Moses, PhD (Photo)
This award is presented to an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science.
Marsha A. Moses, PhD, is the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Moses will receive the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship for her unwavering dedication to serving as an inspiration to countless women working in the field of cancer research, as well as for her pioneering contributions to our understanding of solid tumor growth and progression. Moses is also being recognized for developing novel targeted nontoxic nanomedicines and noninvasive diagnostics tools for human cancers.
Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research: Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award is presented to a scientist of international renown who has made a scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.
Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, FAACR, is the principal investigator at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research, and the principal investigator at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Additionally, Clevers is an investigator at the Oncode Institute in the Netherlands, and a professor of molecular genetics at the University Medical Center in Utrecht. Clevers will receive the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research for his pioneering research that uncovered the mechanisms by which Wnt signaling controls gene expression in colon cancer and the self-renewing gut epithelium, which subsequently led to the identification of adult stem cells in healthy tissue and in tumors; and for his groundbreaking research involving the indefinite expansion of stem cells to form organoids in vitro, and for facilitating the adoption of organoids as an essential model system for the study of various cancers and treatment modalities.
These awards are intended to recognize individuals whose extraordinary work has exemplified the AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy, advocacy, and funding for cancer research. The AACR will recognize three individuals for 2021:
Kathy Giusti, MBA, is founder and chief mission officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and cochair of the Harvard Business School Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator. Giusti is being recognized for more than two decades of extraordinary, steadfast, and inspirational leadership at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation that has expertly stimulated innovative multiple myeloma research and drug discovery efforts, most specifically by enabling leading research institutions to collaborate with industry to speed the discovery and development of effective new treatments for multiple myeloma. (Photo)
U.S. Rep. Nancy P. Pelosi (D-California),Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is being recognized for her incredible leadership and extraordinary efforts on behalf of science-related issues, most specifically her consistent support over many years for robust, sustained, and predictable annual funding increases for the lifesaving research that is supported by the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. (Photo)
Charles L. Sawyers, MD, FAACR, is aninvestigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as theMarie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Chair in Human Oncology and Pathogenesis and chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Sawyers is being recognized for his dedication to advancing precision medicine by conceptualizing and leading AACR Project GENIE and serving as chair of the GENIE Executive and Steering Committees, which has led to an international consortium of 19 participating institutions, nine public data releases now totaling nearly 113,000 sequenced tumors, a user base approaching 10,000 individuals, and hundreds of citations, including four project publications to date. (Photo)