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AACR Congratulates Newest Members of the National Academy of Medicine

15 members of the AACR elected, including AACR President Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) congratulates its 15 members who have been elected to the 2020 class of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), including President and Fellow of the AACR Academy Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD. Other Fellows of the AACR Academy elected to the NAM include Myles A. Brown, MD; Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD; and Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD. Fellow of the AACR Academy John E. Dick, PhD, FRS, was elected to the NAM as an international member.

Election to the National Academy of Medicine is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. The academy elected a total of 90 regular members and 10 international members this year.

“On behalf of the American Association for Cancer Research, I wish to congratulate our President, Dr. Antoni Ribas, and all of the AACR members who were elected to the National Academy of Medicine this year,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Throughout this challenging year, we have been consistently reminded of the lifesaving importance of scientific research and the dedication and expertise of the medical communities in the United States and around the world. The AACR members recognized by the Academy today have exemplified that commitment to patients and public health throughout their careers. We are deeply grateful to them for their extraordinary contributions to the understanding and treatment of cancer and applaud them on receiving this richly deserved honor.”

Five Fellows of the AACR Academy Elected to NAM

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, is recognized by the NAM for “defining the mechanistic basis of response and acquired resistance to immune checkpoint blockade cancer immunotherapies, and leading multicenter clinical trials that have provided transformative treatments for patients with advanced melanoma, changing it from a fatal disease to one that is often cured.” In addition to serving as the current president of the AACR, Ribas was elected to the AACR Academy in 2020. He served as program chair for the AACR Annual Meeting 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific program for the in-person meeting was adapted into two groundbreaking Virtual Annual Meetings under his innovative leadership, with more than 100,000 registered attendees from 140 countries around the world for both virtual meetings combined. Ribas also serves as a scientific editor of the AACR journal Cancer Discovery. He previously served as a member of the AACR Board of Directors from 2016 to 2019; cochair of the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference from 2017 to 2018; vice chair of the AACR Annual Meeting Program Committee from 2018 to 2019; cochair of the AACR Annual Meeting Program Committee and Education Committee from 2015 to 2016; chair of the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology Committee from 2013 to 2014; and cochair of the AACR Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Conference in 2016. Ribas was a member of the editorial board of Clinical Cancer Research from 2012 to 2014. He received the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology in 2018 and the AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award in 2016. Ribas is professor of medicine, surgery, and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He serves as director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA.

Myles A. Brown, MD, is recognized by the NAM for “his leadership in oncology and endocrinology, whose seminal contributions have fundamentally reformulated the mechanistic understanding of hormone dependence of breast and prostate cancers, enabling the development of new therapies for these diseases.” Brown was elected to the AACR Academy in 2020. He previously served as cochair of the AACR Laboratory Research Awards Committee from 2013 to 2015. He received the AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research in 2019. Brown is the Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Levi A. Garraway, MD, PhD, is recognized by the NAM for “the discovery of genetic drivers of melanoma, prostate cancer, and other malignancies, the discovery of mechanisms of response and resistance to anticancer therapies in melanoma and other cancer types, pioneering platforms and approaches to cancer precision medicine, and incorporating precision medicine principles in therapeutic development.” Garraway was elected to the AACR Academy in 2019. He previously served as a member of the AACR Board of Directors from 2016 to 2019 and cochair of the AACR Annual Meeting Program Committee from 2013 to 2016. He received the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Memorial Lectureship Award in 2014. Garraway is executive vice president, head of global product development, and chief medical officer at Genentech/Roche in San Francisco.

Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD, is recognized by the NAM for “demonstrating that genetic profiling can distinguish lymphoma subtypes, predict patient survival, and individualize therapy, thus playing a key role in launching the era of cancer precision medicine. He devised loss-of-function genetic screens for essential cancer genes, thereby enabling effective targeted therapies for molecular subtypes of lymphoma.” Staudt was elected to the AACR Academy in 2019. He is currently serving as the vice chair of the AACR Annual Meeting Program Committee and scientific editor for the AACR journal Blood Cancer Discovery. He previously served as cochair of the AACR Annual Meeting Program Committee from 2013 to 2014. He received the AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship in 2017. Staudt is chief, Lymphoid Malignancies Branch, and director of the Center for Cancer Genomics at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland.

John E. Dick, PhD, FRS, is recognized by the NAM for “developing a system for transplanting normal and malignant human hematopoietic cells into immunodeficient mice as a way to identify and characterize both normal and leukemic human stem cells (LSC). His lab demonstrated that only a small proportion of these cells were capable of initiating leukemia.” Dick was elected to the AACR Academy in 2016. He is currently a scientific editor of the AACR journal Blood Cancer Discovery. He received the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research in 2020, and the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in 2008. Dick is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology and senior scientist for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network; and professor, department of molecular genetics for the University of Toronto.

The 10 additional members of the AACR elected to NAM are:

  • Peter L. Choyke, MD, senior investigator, Molecular Imaging Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. For pioneering advances in the imaging of prostate cancer that have enabled accurate localization of clinically significant tumors. His work has allowed more accurate and efficient biopsies as well as focal therapies that cause fewer side effects than conventional therapies.
  • David Wade Clapp, MD, Richard L. Schreiner Professor and chair, department of pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. For his work that has led to fundamental new insights into the pathogenesis of NF-1 and improved lives for children and adults with this disorder, and for developing robust career development programs for trainees and faculty to become leaders themselves.
  • Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD, professor and Joel B. Steinberg, MD, Chair in Pediatrics and Robert L. Moody, Senior Faculty Scholar, Children’s Research Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. For fundamentally changing the understanding of cancer metabolism. His work emphasized the importance of mitochondria in tumor growth and identified metabolic vulnerabilities imposed by tumor genetics.
  • Ronald Paul DeMatteo, MD, John Rhea Barton Professor and chair, department of surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. For his work establishing the standard of care for combining surgery and targeted therapy (imatinib) for gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and defining the immune response to GIST and its modulation by targeted therapy.
  • B. Mark Evers, MD, director, Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center; physician-in-chief of Oncology Service Line, UK Healthcare; professor and vice chair for research, department of surgery; and Markey Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair, University of Kentucky, Lexington. For his expertise on intestinal hormones and hormonal arcades in oncogenesis. His seminal insights defined the role of gut hormones on normal physiology and metabolism, pioneering innovative understanding of neuroendocrine cell biology and the role of neurohormonal pathways in the development and progression of neuroendocrine tumors.
  • David E. Fisher, PhD, MD, Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; and chief, department of dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. For elucidating the ultraviolet (UV) pigmentation pathway, UV-seeking endorphin response, skin cancer prevention strategies, and hair graying mechanism; discovering melanoma and sarcoma oncogenes; and developing a routinely used melanoma diagnostic.
  • Judy Lieberman, PhD, MD, chair of cellular and molecular medicine and professor of pediatrics, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. For uncovering the molecular basis for mammalian and microbial cell death by cytotoxic lymphocytes and during inflammation/sepsis triggered by pathogens and danger signals. She pioneered harnessing ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference for therapy and gene discovery and was the first to show that small RNAs could be used as drugs in vivo.
  • David R. Liu, PhD, Richard Merkin Professor and vice chair of the faculty, Broad Institute; Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences and professor of chemistry and chemical biology, Harvard University; and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, Mass. For creatively using principles of evolution to study biology and medicine, including the development of base editing and prime editing to modify genomes with unprecedented precision, the development of DNA-templated and DNA-encoded synthesis to facilitate drug discovery, and the development of phage-assisted continuous evolution to speed protein evolution dramatically.
  • Aviv Regev, PhD, head, Genentech Research and Early Development; professor of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and core member, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Mass. For developing experimental and computational methods, especially in single-cell genomics, and applying them to physiology, immunology, and cancer biology, and for elucidating transcription factor networks in dendritic cells and T-cells that orchestrate immune responses to pathogens.
  • Melody A. Swartz, PhD, William B. Ogden Professor, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and Ben May Department for Cancer Research, University of Chicago. For pioneering contributions to the field of lymphatic physiology and immunobiology, and the elucidation of how lymphatics regulate immunity, tolerance, and tumor progression.

The AACR also congratulates the other distinguished scientists who were elected to the NAM. See the news release from the National Academy of Medicine for more information.