The American Association for Cancer Research will honor the following cancer researchers, physician-scientists, advocates, and policymakers for their achievements during the AACR Annual Meeting 2021. Some of the award lectures will be available during the April 10-14 portion of the meeting, and the rest available during the May 17-21 portion. Visit the online planner to learn more about the award winners and their lectures.
AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
This award was established to honor individuals who have made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a collective body of work. These contributions, whether in research, leadership, or mentorship, must have had a lasting impact on the cancer field and must have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to progress against cancer.
Alt will receive the award for his discovery of gene amplification in mammalian cancer cells, establishing oncogene amplification as a tumor progression mechanism, elucidating non-homologous end-joining, and revolutionizing the understanding of how genomic rearrangements form and how they contribute to cancer.
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research
Nicholas E. Navin, PhD
This award recognizes an early-career investigator for meritorious achievements in basic cancer research.
Navin will receive the award for his seminal contributions to the understanding of genome evolution and intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer. The award also recognizes Navin for his invention of single-cell DNA sequencing, which has impacted many diverse fields of biology and biomedicine and has directly contributed to the establishment of the single cell genomics field.
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research
Cynthia Wolberger, PhD
This award is presented for outstanding, novel, and significant chemistry research that has led to important contributions in basic cancer research, translational cancer research, cancer diagnosis, the prevention of cancer, or the treatment of patients with cancer.
Wolberger will receive the award for her pioneering structural studies elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying combinatorial regulation of transcription, ubiquitin signaling, and epigenetic histone modifications. Her studies have collectively transformed drug discovery and development efforts worldwide.
AACR-Daniel D. Von Hoff Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and Training in Cancer Research
This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the education and training of cancer scientists and physicians at any career level and in any area of cancer research.
With this inaugural award, Von Hoff is being recognized for his groundbreaking accomplishments as a dedicated and inspirational educator, for his sustained scientific innovation that has accelerated advances in cancer science and medicine, and for his extraordinary contributions to the education and training of thousands of clinical cancer investigators.
AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research
This award recognizes a true champion of cancer research whose leadership and extraordinary achievements in cancer research have had a major impact on the field. Such achievements may include contributions to the acceleration of progress against cancer, raising national or international awareness of the importance of cancer research, or other ways of demonstrating a sustained extraordinary commitment to cancer research.
Lowy will receive the award for his steadfast leadership of the NCI since 2010, his seminal fundamental research that has led to the development of three FDA-approved HPV vaccines, and his leadership contributions associated with the NIH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AACR Team Science Award
St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team
This award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovative and meritorious science that has advanced or likely will advance our fundamental knowledge of cancer, or a team that has applied existing knowledge to advance the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team will receive the award for its significant contributions to the pediatric cancer research community, including the more than 319 published manuscripts, 44 patent applications, a new clinical trials network, raising more than $118 million to support innovative research, and contributing to the treatment of more than 1,113 children on early phase clinical trials, with many demonstrating durable complete responses. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team leaders are John M. Maris, MD, and Crystall L. Mackall, MD.
AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention:
Stephen J. Chanock, MD
This award recognizes outstanding research accomplishments in cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.
Chanock will receive the award for his pioneering role in the discovery and characterization of cancer susceptibility alleles, his paradigm-shifting contributions to the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention, and his visionary interdisciplinary approaches to cancer research, which have impacted and continue to impact investigators worldwide.
AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology
This award recognizes an active scientist whose outstanding and innovative research has had a major impact on the cancer field and has the potential to stimulate new directions in cancer immunology.
Schumaker will receive the award for his groundbreaking work that has defined how the human immune system recognizes cancer cells, and for developing innovative new technologies to determine how such recognition may be strengthened for therapeutic purposes.
AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Award for Outstanding Basic Cancer Research
Carol L. Prives, PhD, FAACR
This award is intended to recognize an individual who has made outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.
Prives will receive the award for discovering that p53 is a DNA sequence-dependent transcriptional regulator and when mutated, p53 possesses novel oncogenic functions. This award also recognizes Prives for identifying p53 and Mdm2 stress signal-induced regulatory mechanisms, and for revealing novel pathways by which p53 functions to suppress cell growth and promote cell death.
AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship
Aviv Regev, PhD, FAACR
This award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding personal innovation in science and whose position as a thought leader in fields relevant to cancer research has the potential to inspire creative thinking and new directions in cancer research. The recipient is selected by the AACR President.
Regev will receive the award for her extraordinary scientific contributions to applying computational modeling to our understanding of molecular circuits and for developing new bioinformatic technologies in order to study cellular behavior in response to genetic and environmental changes, cellular differentiation, evolution, and disease.
AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research
Brigitte C. Widemann, MD
This award recognizes outstanding achievements in clinical cancer research.
Widemann will receive the award for her relentless and seminal contributions to the understanding of genetic cancer predisposition, the development of novel therapies for predisposition syndromes and rare pediatric cancers, and her unwavering leadership of clinical trials. This includes clinical trials that have resulted in FDA approval of the first-in-class MEK inhibitor, selumetinib, for the treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1 tumors.
AACR-Minorites in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Memorial Lectureship
Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP (London)
This lectureship recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research.
Mitchell will receive the award for her unparalleled efforts to support the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research. The lectureship also honors her for her pioneering research dedicated to working with underserved populations in an effort to elucidate the fundamental drivers of cancer in such communities, specifically breast and prostate cancer in African-American populations.
AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship
Mina J. Bissell, PhD, FAACR
This award recognizes an individual scientist whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer, and who embodies the dedication of Princess Takamatsu to multinational collaborations.
Bissell will receive the award for her trailblazing contributions to the fundamental understanding of cancer, including her characterization of the importance of the tumor microenvironment and extracellular matrix in the regulation of gene expression and tumorigenesis. She also is being recognized for her invention of 3-dimensional organoid culture technology, and for serving as a relentless supporter of research collaborations and mentorship of early-stage trainees and investigators.
AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research
Crystal L. Mackall, MD
This award recognizes an individual in any sector who has significantly contributed to any area of pediatric cancer research, resulting in the fundamental improvement of the understanding and/or treatment of pediatric cancer.
Mackall will receive the award for her pioneering contributions to the fields of pediatric oncology, immunology, and immunotherapeutics, including her discovery of the role of IL-7 in T-cell homeostasis. The award also honors her significant efforts to advance the use of CAR T-cell therapies, and for consistent and ongoing translational research dedicated to establishing novel treatments for pediatric cancer patients.
AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research
Nima Sharifi, MD
This award recognizes a worthy cancer researcher who has conducted highly meritorious translational and clinical cancer research anywhere in the world and who has not yet reached 51 years of age at the time of the award presentation.
Sharifi will receive the award for his pivotal contributions to the understanding of how steroid metabolism contributes to prostate cancer progression, defining the first example of a gain-of-function steroidogenic enzyme missense mutation that permits dihydrotestosterone synthesis from adrenal precursors. In a series of clinical studies, he illustrated that this missense mutation represents an effective predictive biomarker in castration-resistant prostate cancer. His findings have since been validated worldwide.
AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship
Marsha A. Moses, PhD
This award is presented to an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science.
Moses will receive the award for her unwavering dedication to serving as an inspiration to countless women working in the field of cancer research, as well as for her pioneering contributions to our understanding of solid tumor growth and progression. Moses is also being recognized for developing novel targeted non-toxic nanomedicines and non-invasive diagnostics tools for human cancers.
Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research
Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, FAACR
This award is presented to a scientist of international renown who has made a scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.
Clevers will receive the award for his pioneering research that uncovered the mechanisms by which Wnt signaling controls gene expression in colon cancer and the self-renewing gut epithelium, which subsequently led to the identification of adult stem cells in healthy tissue and in tumors; and for his groundbreaking research involving the indefinite expansion of stem cells to form organoids in vitro, and for facilitating the adoption of organoids as an essential model system for the study of various cancers and treatment modalities.