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Roswell K. Boutwell

In Memoriam: Roswell K. Boutwell

(11/24/1917 - 08/25/2017)Member since 1946

Roswell K. Boutwell, PhD, emeritus member of the AACR, died August 25, 2017, at the age of 99. Boutwell was a professor emeritus of oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and an emeritus program member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Boutwell was known for his studies of how cell metabolism contributes to cancerous tumor growth. A seminal contribution was his finding of links between caloric intake and cancer, which has led to further understanding of how diet and lifestyle affect cancer and cancer prevention. He also studied the links between radiation and cancer, having served as chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan, from 1984-1986.

Born Nov. 24, 1917, in Madison, Boutwell received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry from UW-Madison, where he became a founding faculty member of the Department of Oncology at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Boutwell first joined the AACR as an active member in 1946. He served on the AACR board of directors (1979-1982) and as an associate editor of Cancer Research (1973-1981). He also appeared on the cover of the February 1978 issue of Cancer Research.

In 1984, Boutwell was appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board by President Ronald Reagan, and served until 1990. Additionally, he served as a consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency and held advisory and peer review positions with organizations such as the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Research Council, and National Academy of Sciences. He retired from his 45-year career of teaching and conducting research at UW-Madison in 1990.

Boutwell was recognized with numerous honors throughout his career, including the AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award, the Founder’s Award from the Chemical Industry Institute for Toxicology, and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society. The McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research recently established the Roswell K. Boutwell Fellowship Fund to support future cancer researchers in their training.