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Benjamin F. Cravatt, PhD, to Receive 2020 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is honoring Benjamin F. Cravatt, PhD, with the 2020 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research.

Cravatt, professor at the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and the Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology for the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is being recognized for major technical advances in activity-based protein profiling. His methods exploit the power of chemistry to generate new tools and assays for the global analysis of protein activities. He has applied these tools to the identification of new targets and drug candidates for cancer treatment.

The AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research was established by the AACR and its Chemistry in Cancer Research Working Group in 2007, through the initial support of GlaxoSmithKline, to recognize the importance of chemistry to advancements in cancer research. The award is intended to recognize 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.

Throughout his career, Cravatt has made numerous important breakthroughs spanning the fields of biochemistry, pharmacology, neuroscience, and chemical biology. He is a pioneer in the field of proteomics and is globally recognized for the development of activity-based methods to profile enzymes on a global scale. He has applied creative proteomic and metabolomic techniques to discover and characterize the function of key enzymes that regulate important lipid-signaling pathways in cancer. Such enzymes have since demonstrated the potential to serve as therapeutic targets. Subsequently, Cravatt has used cutting-edge profiling methods to develop novel selective inhibitors to validate these enzyme targets for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Cravatt has been a member of the AACR since 2004 and is a member of the AACR Chemistry in Cancer Working Group. Throughout his career, Cravatt has been recognized with a multitude of scientific honors, including the Havinga Medal from the Leiden Institute (2020); the R35 Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute (2018); the Prous Institute – Overton and Meyer Award for New Technologies in Drug Discovery from the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry (2018); the Sato Memorial International Award from the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan (2015); and the MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute (2009). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine.