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Sir Mel F. Greaves, PhD

Sir Mel F. Greaves, PhD

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom

Class of 2019

For highlighting the biological underpinnings of pediatric leukemia onset and clonal evolution, and for demonstrating how exposure to infection and specific genetic mutations correlate with cancer susceptibility and leukemogenesis in pediatric populations.

A distinguished leader and innovator, Dr. Greaves is renowned for highlighting the biological underpinnings of pediatric leukemia onset and clonal evolution and for identifying key immunological markers that differentiate various types of leukemia. These markers have subsequently contributed to the advancement of both diagnostic and treatment options for cancer patients. Dr. Greaves’ research has been fundamental in uncovering genetic alterations occurring in utero that contribute to patient susceptibility to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). More specifically, through his study of genetic twins, Dr. Greaves uncovered that chromosomal translocations leading to fusion proteins occurring in one identical twin may be transferred to the second twin via their shared blood supply. Furthermore, this work has also contributed to the understanding that a second activating event must typically occur during early childhood for carcinogenesis to occur. Concordantly, his ongoing research is dedicated to determining whether exposure to infection is capable of serving as such an activating event. As such, he has since defined the relationship between HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus 1) infection and leukemogenesis and has collectively bolstered the understanding of pediatric cancer susceptibility.

Notably, in addition to his pivotal contributions to the field of leukemia research, Dr. Greaves is an avid supporter of science communication to the public. He spearheaded the creation of the now titled, Mel Greaves Science Writing Prize as well as multiple scientific blogs. Dr. Greaves has also authored the popular science book “Cancer. The Evolutionary Legacy” and more recently, a book intended for teenage audiences, entitled “The Making of You: The Most Incredible Journey, Ever.”

Career Highlights

2019 Knight Bachelor of the British Empire (New Year’s Honours List)
2017 Royal Medal, The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, Cancer Research UK, Oxford, United Kingdom
2010 Lifetime Achievement Merit Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Research/Bloodwise, London, United Kingdom
2009 Ham-Wasserman Lecture Award, American Society of Hematology, Washington, D.C.
2009 The 29th Myron Karon Memorial Lectureship Award, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
2003 Pediatric Oncology Lectureship Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
2003 Elected Fellow, The Royal Society, London, United Kingdom
2001 José Carreras Award, European Hematology Association, The Hague, Holland and José Carreras Leukemia Foundation, Barcelona, Spain
1999 Elected Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences
1999 Gold Medal, British Society for Haematology
1988 The King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
1984 Elected Member, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
1981 The Peter Debye Prize, University of Maastricht, Holland
1977 The Paul Martini Prize, Martini Foundation, Gottingen University, Germany