A quintessential figure in the cancer research community, Dr. Caligiuri is world renowned for his groundbreaking research dedicated to understanding the immune system to treat various cancers. While the sites and pathways for human T cell and B cell development have been known for decades, Dr. Caligiuri discovered the site, developmental stages, and soluble factors responsible for human natural killer (NK) cell development. He was the first to show that human hematopoietic stem cells migrate from the bone marrow to secondary lymphoid tissue where they undergo NK cell development in stages he identified. He discovered the critical role of IL-15 in human NK cell development, survival and activation. In human disease he elucidated the role of IL-15 in the genesis of NK cell leukemia and cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Dr. Caligiuri co-discovered human innate-lymphoid cells and first identified the specific human precursors for both NK cells and innate lymphoid cells. He discovered a fundamental mechanism of immune surveillance, demonstrating how Fc receptor-bearing innate immune cells recognize viral and bacterial pathogens. Over 1,500 patients with cancer have been treated on clinical protocols designed by Dr. Caligiuri.
Dr. Caligiuri has also demonstrated a relentless passion and commitment to advocating for increased efforts to address cancer health disparities and to mentoring the next generation of cancer scientists. As AACR President he devised and implemented “Project 2020 by 2020” to accrue thousands of African American cancer patient genomes and clinical data to national registries. He also co-founded the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) that collects cancer clinical samples and tracks clinical, epidemiological, and molecular patient data to guide screening, treatment, and surveillance protocols. Concordantly, Dr. Caligiuri co-founded the grassroots bike tour, Pelotonia, which has generated over $150 million for cancer research in nine years and has provided over 400 scholarships for students pursuing cancer research.
2018 J.E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine, Stanford Medicine
2018 Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine
2017-2018 President, AACR
2016-2022 R35 National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award
2015-2017 President, Society for Natural Immunity
2014-2017 Chairperson, National Cancer Policy Forum, Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
2012 Director ‘s Service Award, National Cancer Institute
2011-2015 Councillor and Executive Committee Member, American Society of Hematology
2010-2015 R37 NCI MERIT Award, National Cancer Institute
2009-2011 President, Association of American Cancer Institutes
2008-2012 Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute
2008 Elected Fellow, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
2008 John Wayne Clinical Research Award, Society of Surgical Oncologists
2004 Elected Member, Association of American Physicians
2003 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C.
1998 Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
1998 Elected Fellow, American College of Physicians