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Joan Massagué, PhD

Joan Massagué, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

Class of 2016

A distinguished cancer researcher, Dr. Massagué is recognized globally for his scientific contributions to the understanding of the cell signaling pathways and resulting transcriptional mechanisms responsible for cancer metastasis. He is renowned for his leading role in characterizing the many functions of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) family of growth factors. His research has delineated the TGF-β signaling pathway from membrane receptors to target genes and defined how this pathway regulates normal biological processes including development, cell growth and differentiation in tissue homeostasis, as well as deleterious processes such as cancer formation and metastasis.

His studies demonstrated that disruption of TGF-β signaling, either via mutation or TBF-β receptor imbalance, is sufficient for cancer cells of the breast, lung, or kidney to evade TGF-β mediated cell death and progress toward metastatic disease. This finding has led Dr. Massagué to pursue the identification of additional contributing factors to cancer metastasis such as aberrant signaling pathways and dysregulation of gene expression in an effort to identify key biomarkers that would allow better screening of the metastatic potential of primary tumors. These studies have led to investigations into novel approaches designed to detect and inhibit the biological mechanisms responsible for driving the spread of various cancers.

Dr. Massagué’s current research centers on identifying the molecular mediators and mechanisms by which latent, disseminated tumor cells are able to convey resistance to established chemotherapies, while simultaneously forming secondary cancer sites.

Career Highlights

2018 Heath Award Lecture, MD Anderson Cancer Center
2016 International Catalonia Prize
2016 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research
2015 Charles Rodolphe Brupacher Prize for Cancer, Zürich, Switzerland
2014 National Prize for Research in Biology, Spain
2013 American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine
2011 Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Medical Research Award in Cancer Research
2011 Innovator Award, U.S. Department of Defense
2009 AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
2008 AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research
2008 Frontiers Prize in Biomedicine, BBVA Foundation
2006 Vicek Prize for Biomedical Research
2006 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
2004 Prince of Asturias Award in Science and Technology
2003 Gold Medal, Spanish Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2000 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
1978 PhD, University of Barcelona