A pioneer in the field of developmental genetics and its relation to cancer biology, Dr. Mintz was the first to propose that chimeric mice could be constructed in which two genetically different cell populations could coexist throughout life. In these animals, specific cell lineages became detectable, and she found that development comprised an expanding succession of progressively restricted stem cells able to proliferate clonally and to differentiate. This led her to suggest that cancer is an aberration of development in which the proper balance is modified in favor of proliferation, with ongoing genetic changes. Dr. Mintz next demonstrated that transgenic mice could be produced by changing a gene in the egg itself so that mouse models of a specific cancer could be obtained.
Dr. Mintz also discovered that the local environment of a cell plays an important part in the behavior of the cell, especially in the stem-cell stage. In a dramatic experiment, she showed that the stem cells of an early carcinoma could be stably normalized if transferred to a normal environment appropriate for their stage. All these discoveries have been utilized by many cancer biologists to create mouse models of specific cancers.
2012 AACR Lifetime Achievement Award
2011 Albert Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, National Foundation for Cancer Research
2008 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, Rockefeller University
1997 National Medal of Honor for Basic Research, American Cancer Society
1996 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology (first recipient)
1994 John Scott Award for Scientific Achievement, Board of City Trusts, Philadelphia, PA
1990 Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine (first recipient)
1982 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1981 Genetics Society of America Medal (first recipient)
1980 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award in Basic Medical Research, Brandeis University
1979 New York Academy of Sciences Award in Biological and Medical Sciences
1976 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1975 President’s Biomedical Research Panel (Development Biology Group)
1973 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
1946 PhD, University of Iowa