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AACR Congratulates Two Members on Their Election Into the National Academy of Sciences

May 16, 2011

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PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research congratulates two of its members, Ira Mellman, Ph.D., and Luis F. Parada, Ph.D., on their election to the National Academy of Sciences.

“We are very proud to announce the election of these two distinguished AACR members to the National Academy of Sciences. Both Drs. Mellman and Parada are extrapolating new knowledge gained in critical biological questions to the development of new treatment paradigms in cancer therapeutics,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “They are outstanding leaders in the field and we want to wish them our warm congratulations on this great milestone in their careers.”

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. Election into the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a U.S. scientist or engineer.

The National Academy of Sciences elected 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries. Two of these inductees are AACR members:

Ira Mellman, Ph.D., vice president of research oncology, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif. Mellman was among the first to unravel the pathways and functional significance of endocytosis. He has applied these insights to elucidate two key problems: the generation and maintenance of cell polarity and the cell biological basis of the immune response. His work on immune response has concentrated on dendritic cells. This work lends itself to the development of strategies for therapeutic intervention: augmenting dendritic cell function to enhance responses to cancer, and attenuating dendritic cell function to combat autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease. Mellman received his B.A. from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University School of Medicine. He was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University before returning to Yale, becoming Sterling Professor and chair of cell biology and immunobiology, member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and scientific director of the Yale Cancer Center. Mellman moved to Genentech in 2007 as Vice President of Research Oncology, where he leads the largest component of Genentech’s discovery organization. Mellman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences, an elected foreign member of EMBO, the previous Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cell Biology and a member of the editorial boards of Cell, the JEM and EMBO Journal.  Mellman founded CGI Pharmaceuticals (Gilead). He is an advisor to numerous research institutes and the author of 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Luis F. Parada, Ph.D., professor and Diana K. and Richard C. Strauss distinguished chair in developmental biology, department of developmental biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Parada’s research integrates the fields of molecular genetics, embryonic development and signal transduction. His studies have provided critical insights into brain development, associated disorders and cancer biology, and have led to the identification of molecules that inhibit nerve regeneration after injury. His laboratory focuses on the regulatory pathways that control the complex process of nervous system development and the consequences of inappropriate development, which can include behavioral and mood disorders, as well as cancer. Parada graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. He completed his doctorate in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 and served postdoctoral fellowships at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He was head of the Molecular Embryology Section in the Mammalian Genetics Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute before joining UT Southwestern in 1994. He was an AACR Annual Meeting 2007 program committee member. Parada has received numerous honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was named an American Cancer Society Basic Research Professor in 2003.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.

Media Contact:
Michele Sharp
(267) 646-0622

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