Gerald N. Wogan, PhD, a renowned expert in toxicology and a longtime member of the AACR, died July 16, 2021, at the age of 91.
Wogan was born January 11, 1930, in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Juniata College and conducted graduate work in physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana. He earned his PhD in 1957.
Wogan taught at Rutgers University, then was recruited to join the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he had a long, fruitful career, serving as the head of the Department of Biological Engineering from 1979 to 1987.
Wogan’s research established the mechanisms of action of many environmental toxins. His work spanned the spectrum of research, from basic mechanistic studies to animal models to population-level studies. He was considered a pioneer in research on aflatoxins, a family of toxins found on certain agricultural crops. Wogan and colleagues established methods for measuring aflatoxins in food and other environmental samples and confirmed their association with increased risk of liver cancer. This work helped inform policies at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. He would later expand his work on aflatoxins into the study of other fungal and bacterial toxins, fossil fuel combustion products, and the role of infection and inflammation in cancer development.
Most recently, Wogan was the Underwood Prescott Professor of Biological Engineering, Chemistry, and Toxicology emeritus at MIT. Over the course of his career, he trained at least 75 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, many of whom also became leaders in environmental science and health.
Wogan joined the AACR in 1968. He served for many years on the editorial boards of Cancer Research and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. He was also Program Chair of the 1983 AACR Annual Meeting.
Among many career honors, Wogan was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He received distinguished alumnus awards from both Juniata College and the University of Illinois.
Wogan also received the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology Founders’ award in 1999, the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund award in 2001, the Society of Toxicology Distinguished Lifetime Toxicology Scholar award in 2004, the Charles S. Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation in 2005, the Medal of Honor of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2010, and the Princess Chulabhorn Gold Medal in 2012.
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