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AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Honors Dr. Levi A. Garraway With Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship Award

March 6, 2014
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SAN DIEGO — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and its Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) membership group will award Levi A. Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., with the Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.

The AACR-MICR Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship was established in 2006 to give recognition 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 minority investigators in cancer research.

Garraway, who is associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., will present his lecture, “The Cancer Genome in Biology, Therapy, and Drug Resistance,” Sunday, April 6, 3:15 p.m. PT.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award as part of the legacy of Jane Cooke Wright. I am deeply grateful for the recognition, and for all of the opportunities and mentoring that have allowed my research to move forward over the years,” Garraway said.

Garraway is widely recognized for his outstanding research in the field of cancer genomics and functional approaches to characterize solid tumors, especially melanoma and prostate cancer. Discoveries made in his laboratory have utilized computational and experimental approaches toward identifying target genes and pathways, which have furthered the field of personalized medicine and targeted therapies. Among his pioneering discoveries are the identification of the first lineage-survival oncogene, MITF, and the recognition of lineage-dependency as one of the facilitators of tumorigenesis. His team has conducted extensive mechanistic studies to understand genetic alterations in major cell-signaling pathways such as MAPK and PI3K pathways that influence melanoma and its resistance to targeted therapies.

In addition to his extensive scientific contributions to cancer research, Garraway has been tremendously dedicated to furthering minorities in the field. In 2010, he served as chair of the AACR’s Third Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, and served as chair of the MICR Council from 2011 to 2012. He mentored minority high school and college students through the Broad Diversity Initiative, the Dana-Farber Cure Program, and the Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Programs, and participates in a professional development workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Health Disparities. Additionally, he has been an active speaker for the Prostate Health Education Network, a patient education and advocacy group that targets black men who have survived prostate cancer.

Garraway is a principal investigator on the Stand Up To Cancer-Prostate Cancer Foundation Dream Team: Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer and served as a scientific editor of Cancer Discovery, a journal of the AACR.

Garraway has received numerous honors throughout his career: In 2007, Garraway was one of only 29 scientists selected from more than 2,200 applicants to receive the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he received two minority scholar awards from the AACR and most recently the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research.

This lectureship is named in honor of Jane Cooke Wright, M.D., a pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy and an exceptional scientist who has made important contributions to research in this field, and who passed away last year at the age of 93. Wright, a member of the AACR since 1954, became the highest ranking black woman at a nationally recognized medical institution in 1967, at a time when there were only a few hundred black, female physicians in the United States. She attended the AACR Annual Meeting each year since the lectureship’s establishment in order to provide opening remarks and introduce the year’s lecturer. She was elected into the inaugural class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy in 2013. Read more about Wright.



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