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AACR Announces Recipients of its 2022 Scientific Achievement Awards and Lectureships

Awardees to be recognized at the AACR Annual Meeting 2022 in New Orleans

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor the following cancer researchers and physician-scientists for their achievements during the AACR Annual Meeting 2022, to be held April 8-13 in New Orleans.

AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research: Tony Hunter, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
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.

Tony Hunter, PhD, FAACR, is American Cancer Society Professor and Renato Dulbecco Chair at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. He is being honored for his seminal discovery of tyrosine kinases and tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins that illuminated fundamental processes of cellular signaling and enabled the development of cancer therapeutics targeting these kinases. His basic biomedical research targeting tyrosine kinases has successfully been translated to over 60 tyrosine kinase inhibitors, clinically approved to treat and manage a multitude of cancers and other diseases.

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research: Christina Curtis, PhD (Photo)
This award recognizes an early-career investigator for meritorious achievements in basic cancer research.

Christina Curtis, PhD, is associate professor of medicine and genetics and an Endowed Scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is the director of Breast Cancer Translational Research and codirector of the Molecular Tumor Board at the Stanford Cancer Institute, and a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator at Stanford. She is being honored for her paradigm-shifting research on tumor evolution, including the Big Bang model which explains how treatment-naïve cancers grow in the absence of therapeutic influence. She further developed this fundamental milestone in cancer research to explain the tendency that some cancers have to disseminate and metastasize, with implications for improved patient stratification and emergent diagnostic approaches for early cancer and pre-cancer detection.

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Blood Cancer Research: John E. Dick, PhD, FRS, FRsC, FAACR (Photo)
This new award recognizes an individual on the basis of their meritorious achievements and contributions to any aspect of blood cancer research.

John E. Dick, PhD, FRS, FRsC, FAACR, is a senior scientist and the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network; and professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto. He is being honored for his groundbreaking discovery of leukemic stem cells and for developing the first hematopoietic xenograft assay using human hematopoietic cells transplanted into immune-compromised mice, a technique that has become the gold standard hematopoietic stem cell assay. His discovery of a leukemia stemness gene signature has since been used to predict survival rates and response to treatment and lays the groundwork for identifying actionable targets for drug development.

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research: Kevan M. Shokat, 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.

Kevan M. Shokat, PhD, is professor and chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), professor in the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is being recognized for his seminal discoveries in the field of chemical genetics, solving the fundamental selectivity challenge for protein kinases by engineering a unique ATP binding pocket and matched chemical inhibitor to exploit and selectively target individual protein kinases. His breakthrough discoveries include the development of the first covalent inhibitors of KRAS G12C, leading to clinical trials to target a once thought undruggable oncogene.

AACR Daniel D. Von Hoff Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and Training in Cancer Research: Lee M. Ellis, MD (Photo)
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.

Lee M. Ellis, MD, is professor in the Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Division of Surgery; Ruben Distinguished Chair in Gastroenterology Cancer Research and executive director for Translational Research, Global Academic Programs, in the Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery; and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He is also Vice Chair of Translational Medicine at SWOG in Portland, Oregon. Ellis is being recognized for his pioneering research on the biology and therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer. Additionally, he is being recognized for identifying VEGF as an important mediator of colorectal cancer angiogenesis, growth and survival, and a valid therapeutic target that is now standard of care for patients with such malignancies. Importantly, during his illustrious career, he has played a critical role in the training and education of a multitude of clinical fellows, laboratory investigators, clinical investigators, and junior faculty.

AACR Distinguished Service Award: Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award recognizes 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.

Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, FAACR, is director of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, South Carolina and executive chairman of the board of The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. He is being recognized for elucidating the role of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in colon cancer and the contributions of the lipid metabolite prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to tissue inflammation in the etiology of colon cancer. His groundbreaking work led to the discovery of a COX-2 inhibitor that reduces polyp formation in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Collectively, he is recognized for his significant contributions to not only the cancer field at large but also the AACR, including his past AACR Presidency, Editor-in-Chief role for the journal Cancer Prevention Research, and his service as President and Chair of the AACR Foundation Board of Trustees.

AACR James S. Ewing-Thelma B. Dunn Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pathology in Cancer Research: Elaine S. Jaffe, MD (Photo)
This new award, named for the AACR’s first President (Ewing) and first female President (Dunn), both of who were pathologists, serves to recognize and celebrate pathologists who have significantly contributed to advancing cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Elaine S. Jaffe, MD, is a National Institutes of Health Distinguished Investigator in the Laboratory of Pathology and head of the Hematopathology Section, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute. Jaffe is being recognized for her groundbreaking modern approaches to the classification of lymphoid system neoplasms. An astute diagnostician, her clinical and investigational studies have been intertwined to enhance our understanding of tumors of the immune system by revolutionizing the integration of traditional pathological methods with immunologic and genomic approaches and describing multiple new disease entities that have resulted in pivotal changes to clinical practice and patient management.

AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research: Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
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.

Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD, FAACR, is executive vice president, head of Global Product Development, and chief medical officer at Hoffmann-La Roche/Genentech in San Francisco. He is being honored for pioneering and championing the application of genomics to cancer research, diagnosis, drug development, and treatment; including landmark discoveries that defined mechanisms of tumorigenesis, cancer progression, and therapeutic resistance. A world leader and visionary in the field, he has made crucial contributions to cancer precision medicine including the identification of numerous driver genes, clinical adaptation and implementation of tumor genomic profiling, characterization of resistance to multiple targeted therapies, and discovery of novel non-coding mutations in the telomerase gene promoter that represent hallmark genetic events in many cancer types.

AACR Team Science Award: The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital Breast Cancer Research Team
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 Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital Breast Cancer Research Team will receive the AACR Team Science Award for their seminal translational discoveries in breast cancer research that have led to significant improvements in diagnosis and treatment. This team has led the discovery of new therapeutic approaches and the biomarkers that identify the populations of patients that gain most benefit from them. Examples include PARP inhibitors, which have changed how patients and breast cancers with BRCA1/2 mutations are tested and treated; the development of aromatase inhibitors in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer; and predictive biomarkers that have informed how systemic treatments may be selected, deescalated, or adapted following evidence of therapeutic response or resistance. This effective team has also led work that has fundamentally changed international radiotherapy dose fractionation to reduce treatment duration, and characterized molecular changes occurring in breast cancer that contribute to metastatic colonization, resistance to cell death, and vulnerability to targeted therapies.

The team members are:

  • Alan Ashworth, PhD, FMedSci, FRS, FAACR
  • Judith Bliss, MSc
  • Mitchell Dowsett, PhD, FMedSci
  • Clare M. Isacke, DPhil, FMedSci
  • Stephen Johnston, MA, FRCP, PhD
  • Christopher Lord, DPhil
  • Pascal Meier, PhD
  • Alistair Ring, MA, MD, FRCP
  • Ian Smith, MD, FRCP, FRCPE
  • Nicholas C. Turner, MA, FRCP, PhD, FMedSci
  • Andrew Tutt, MBChB, PhD, FRCR, MRCP, FMedSci
  • John Yarnold, MBBS, FRCP, FRCR

AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention: Susan E. Hankinson, ScD (Photo)
This award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.

Susan E. Hankinson, ScD, is associate dean for research and Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Hankinson is being honored for her remarkable contributions to the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, prevention, and the etiology of breast cancer. Additionally, she is being recognized for leading the first large-scale blood and urine collections in women for biomarker discovery utilizing novel biospecimen collection protocols she developed, including one that collected samples timed for a woman’s menstrual cycle. Her seminal work revealed profound insights into the association of sex hormones, and other hormones, with breast cancer risk, and cumulatively has provided critical new knowledge into the hormonal etiology of breast cancer in both pre- and post-menopausal women.

AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology: Ira Mellman, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
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.

Ira Mellman, PhD, FAACR, is vice president of cancer immunology at Genentech and an adjunct professor at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is being recognized for paramount advances in cell biology, including the discovery of endosomes and applying these insights to understanding the immune response, and for demonstrating how dendritic cell maturation regulates the balance between immunity and tolerance. He has elucidated the mechanism of the PD-L1/PD-1 signaling pathway and the conceptualization of the Cancer Immunity Cycle, bringing atezolizumab to the clinic, and overseeing the discovery and development of iNeST-RNA, tiragolumab (anti-TIGIT), cobimetinib, mosunetuzumab, and a variety of other therapeutics currently in early stages of clinical investigation.

AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Award for Outstanding Basic Cancer Research: Ronald M. Evans, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
This award is intended to recognize an individual who has made outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.

Ronald M. Evans, PhD, FAACR, is professor and director of the Gene Expression Laboratory and the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Evans is being recognized for elucidating the complete structure of the human glucocorticoid receptor, which led to the discovery of a nuclear receptor superfamily for steroids, Vitamins A and D, thyroid hormone, bile acids, fatty acids, and cholesterol metabolites. An authority on hormones, Evans has identified a myriad of primary nuclear receptors as targets for the treatment of many cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. Additionally, he has discovered a new class of PPAR delta drugs called exercise mimetics, which pharmacologically promote the benefits of fitness and thus have a broad impact in metabolic disease.

AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship: Craig M. Crews, PhD (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.

Craig M. Crews, PhD, is the John C. Malone Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, a professor of chemistry, pharmacology, and management, and the executive director of the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Crews is being recognized for excellence in drug discovery and development spanning from molecule to patient and for his work on pharmacological modulation of protein turnover. Combining groundbreaking science with strong entrepreneurship, he has spearheaded new and revolutionary therapeutic approaches including the development of novel proteasome inhibitors and proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology, enabling the drugging of cancer targets previously considered undruggable.

AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research: Patricia M. LoRusso, DO, PhD (hc) (Photo)
This award recognizes outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research.

Patricia M. LoRusso, DO, PhD (hc), is a professor of medicine in medical oncology and associate cancer center director for experimental therapeutics at the Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. LoRusso is being recognized for exemplary leadership in drug development and translational cancer therapeutics and for her pioneering work on early-phase clinical investigation of novel therapies and combination strategies for advanced cancers. Her unwavering and inexhaustible efforts in the design, conduct, analysis, and knowledge dissemination of early-phase cancer clinical trials have created paradigm shifts in the treatment of cancer malignancies.

AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship: Robert A. Winn, MD (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.

Robert A. Winn, MD, is director and Lipman Chair in Oncology at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Massey Cancer Center; and senior associate dean for Cancer Innovation and professor of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. Winn is being recognized for outstanding leadership and exceptional efforts in studying lung cancer, addressing health disparities, and promoting community-based health care. Winn’s contributions and advancements toward understanding the pathogenesis of lung cancer have unlocked several novel targets in the areas of Wnt signaling, RNA binding proteins, ion channels, and protein methylation. A true pioneer taking the field of cancer research to the next level, his vision to translate basic science into clinical impact in reducing lung cancer disparities has resulted in Specialized Programs of Research Excellence and Stand Up To Cancer awards, focusing on the interplay between “ZNA,” an individual’s zip code and cancer risk, and DNA.

AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship: René Bernards, 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.

René Bernards, PhD, FAACR, is a founding member at the Oncode Institute, cofounder of Oncosence BC, cofounder of Qameleon Therapeutics BV, and senior staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Bernards is being honored for monumental contributions to establishing innovative strategies by which to identify biomarkers of treatment response and effective treatment combinations; for pioneering the use of genetic screening tests to identify and stratify individuals at risk of developing breast cancer; and for employing functional genomic approaches to identify vulnerabilities of cancers that may be therapeutically exploited. He is also being recognized for his unparalleled ability to foster and nourish collaborative global cancer research efforts.

AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research: David Malkin, MD, FRCPC (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.

David Malkin, MD, is senior staff oncologist in the Division of Haematology/Oncology, director of the Cancer Genetics Program, and senior scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Malkin is being recognized for his unrivaled, visionary, and paradigm-shifting holistic approaches to treating pediatric cancer, discovering the link between germline mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene and the Li-Fraumeni cancer susceptibility syndrome, and establishing the “Toronto protocol” for tumor surveillance in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. He initiated the first childhood cancer predisposition clinic, which has served as the gold standard for the management of families with cancer predisposition syndromes while spearheading cancer genomic efforts including sophisticated diagnostic, prognostic, and surveillance tools for the management of such patients.

AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research: Daniel D. de Carvalho, PhD (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.

Daniel D. de Carvalho, PhD, is a senior scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, and an associate professor at the University of Toronto. He is being recognized for groundbreaking work on the development and application of novel circulating tumor DNA methylome profiling approaches for cancer classification and early cancer detection; his landmark discovery of the main anti-tumor mechanism of DNA demethylating drugs known as viral mimicry; and for his pioneering discoveries concerning the epigenetic regulation of repetitive elements and downstream viral mimicry responses in cancer development and cancer therapy.

AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship: Martine F. Roussel, PhD, FAACR (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.

Martine F. Roussel, PhD, FAACR, is a member of the St. Jude faculty; the Endowed Chair in Molecular Carcinogenesis; chair of Erasmus University of Sciences, Paris, VII France and St. Jude Exchange Program; and professor in the Department of Molecular Sciences at University of Tennessee, Memphis. Roussel is being recognized for pivotal and enormous contributions to the understanding of childhood brain cancers, especially medulloblastoma, specifically highlighting how developmental pathways and cell cycle regulatory proteins, including cyclin dependent kinases and their inhibitors, are capable of regulating central nervous system function and brain tumor initiation and progression.

Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research: Steven A. Rosenberg, 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.

Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, FAACR, is chief of the surgery branch, senior investigator, and head of the Tumor Immunology Section at the National Cancer Institute. Rosenberg is being recognized for pioneering the development of effective immunotherapies and gene therapies for patients with advanced cancers, and being the first to introduce a foreign gene into a human and to successfully utilize T-cell receptors against solid epithelial cancers and chimeric antigen receptors against lymphomas. He has identified somatic mutations as targets of T-cell immunotherapy and has demonstrated that administration of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes along with an IL-2 and a lymphodepleting preparative regimen stimulates complete remission in metastatic melanoma and selected other cancers.

The Victoria’s Secret Global Fund for Women’s Cancers Meritorious Awards, In Partnership with Pelotonia & the AACR
These awards recognize prominent and influential female cancer researchers who have made outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding, prevention, and/or treatment of breast or any form of gynecologic cancer.

Joan S. Brugge, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School; Co-Director, Ludwig Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

  • For lifelong investigations dedicated to unraveling mechanisms of cancer initiation, progression, and drug resistance that contribute to human carcinogenesis; isolation of the protein encoded by the src transforming gene of Rous sarcoma virus; and the use of three-dimensional culture conditions to reveal significant changes in the organization of normal tissue associated with cancer. Adamant about identifying vulnerabilities of tumor cells that can be targeted for therapeutic intervention, Dr. Brugge’s work has provided invaluable insights into the mechanisms of therapeutic resistance and has led to the development of numerous strategies for overcoming drug resistance.

Susan M. Domchek, MD (Photo)
Executive Director, Basser Center for BRCA and Basser Professor in Oncology, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • For demonstrating that genetic testing for high penetrance cancer susceptibility genes can improve risk assessment, inform appropriate risk reduction strategies, and be used to develop targeted therapeutics, and for applying this paradigm to genetic information across the pathogenicity and penetrance spectrum. An international expert in the translation of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility, Dr. Domchek has revolutionized the clinical care of patients in the areas of cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment and has shown that prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and is associated with improved survival in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. She has also been instrumental in the development of PARP inhibitors and immunologic therapies as potential treatments for BRCA1/2 mutation-associated cancers of multiple types, including breast, pancreas, and ovarian cancer.

Karen H. Lu, MD (Photo)
Professor and Chair, Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine; J. Taylor Wharton Distinguished Chair in Gynecologic Oncology; Co-Director, MD Anderson Clinical Cancer Genetics Program; Director, High Risk Ovarian Cancer Screening Clinic; Director, Uterine Cancer Research Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

  • For fundamental studies of endometrial cancer in Lynch Syndrome and defining criteria to identify and medically manage women with Lynch Syndrome, and for leading efforts in the prevention of hereditary endometrial and ovarian cancers in Lynch Syndrome, the prevention of ovarian cancer in women with germline mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2, and the prevention of sporadic endometrial cancer in obese women. Dr. Lu’s innovative prospective national clinical trials have focused on the identification of tissue biomarkers and prevention of endometrial cancer in women with Lynch Syndrome, ovarian cancer screening and novel prevention strategies in high-risk women, and expanded opportunities for genetic testing to identify women at increased risk for cancer.

Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH (Photo)
Chief, Section of Breast Surgery, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Leader, Multidisciplinary Breast Oncology Programs, New York-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York

  • For significantly advancing the understanding of the etiology of breast cancers in African and African American women through an innovative and groundbreaking international program focusing on the study of triple negative breast cancer in women with African ancestry. Dr. Newman’s seminal work regarding the interplay of genetics and the social determinants of health continues to have a far-reaching global impact as these findings become translated into better treatment options for all women with triple negative breast cancers.

Martine J. Piccart, MD, PhD, FAACR (Photo)
Honorary Professor of Oncology, Université Libre de Bruxelles; Scientific Director, Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium

  • For visionary and unparalleled leadership in advancing breast cancer clinical trials and drug development, and for optimizing genetic profiling of breast cancer subtypes to enhance cancer diagnosis techniques and improve treatment strategies and regimens. Dr. Piccart’s paramount cancer research efforts have included the foundation of the Brussels-based Breast International Group (BIG), focused on fostering internationally collaborative clinical trials.