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Pezcoller Foundation and American Association for Cancer Research Honor Outstanding Achievements of Dr. Elaine Fuchs

March 5, 2014
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SAN DIEGO — Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., will receive the 2014 Pezcoller Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Award for Cancer Research at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9, in recognition of her seminal work contributing to the understanding of mammalian skin, skin stem cells, and skin-related diseases, particularly cancers, genetic diseases, and proinflammatory disorders.

Fuchs is the Rebecca C. Lancefield professor and head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University in New York, N.Y., and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She will give her lecture, “Stem Cells in Silence, Action, and Cancer,” Sunday, April 6, 4:30 p.m. PT, in Halls F-G in the San Diego Convention Center.

“Dr. Fuchs is an exceptional scientist, and we are delighted to recognize her pioneering research on the biology of skin stem cells and how they go awry in human diseases of the skin, including cancer,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (hon.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Her seminal studies have had a profound impact not only on the field of cancer research, but also on the research disciplines of genetics and dermatology.”

Fuchs is highly regarded for her studies using reverse genetics to understand the biological basis of normal and abnormal skin development and function. Among her important research discoveries was the clarification of the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of skin stem cells to produce the epidermis and its appendages, including hair follicles and sweat and oil glands. She has also defined how the normal biology of skin stem cells can be deregulated in skin cancers and other hyperproliferative disorders of the skin.

“I’m honored, delighted, and humbled to receive this award from the AACR,” said Fuchs. “My students, postdocs, and staff, present and past, are the ones who truly merit recognition. My group has long had an interest in skin stem cells, how they make and repair tissues, and how this goes awry in cancers. As a basic scientist who studies the fundamental mechanisms underlying stem cell biology and cancer, it is particular pleasing to be recognized not only by basic cancer biologists, but also by physician scientists and clinicians. It is the diversity and breadth of the AACR that make this society and this honor so special.”

The Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, now in its 17th year, recognizes an individual scientist of international renown who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.

As recipient of this award, Fuchs will also present the Ninth Annual Stanley J. Korsmeyer Lecture at the Venetian Institute for Molecular Medicine in Padua, Italy, prior to the Pezcoller Foundation’s official award ceremony in Trento, Italy, May 2014.

Fuchs was named one of the inaugural Fellows of the AACR Academy last year. She has received many additional honors throughout her career, including the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, the National Medal of Science, the Albany Prize in Medicine, the Kligman-Frost Leadership Award from the Society of Investigative Dermatology, L’Oreal-Unesco Award, the March of Dimes Prize, and the Pasarow Award for Cancer Research. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the European National Academy of Sciences (EMBO).

Fuchs received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her doctorate at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Fuchs was the Amgen professor of basic sciences at the University of Chicago before joining Rockefeller University in 2002.

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