Five Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) faculty are among the 33 international scientific leaders elected today to the prestigious Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy class of 2022.
Luis Alberto Diaz Jr., MD; Thomas J. Kelly, MD, PhD; Nikola P. Pavletich, PhD; Neal Rosen, MD, PhD; and Alexander Y. Rudensky, PhD, have been recognized by the AACR Academy for their significant contributions and impact to cancer research. They join 10 Fellows of the AACR Academy from MSK previously elected over the course of the program’s nine-year history including José Baselga, MD, PhD; Bayard Clarkson, MD; Jimmie C. Holland, PhD; Maria Jasin, PhD; Scott W. Lowe, PhD; Paul A. Marks, MD; Joan Massagué, PhD; Larry Norton, MD; Charles L. Sawyers, MD; and Craig B. Thompson, MD. MSK is proud to have the largest institutional representation in the Fellows of the AACR Academy class of 2022.
The mission of the AACR Academy is to honor distinguished scientists whose scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. Fellows of the AACR Academy are nominated annually through a rigorous peer-review process. They serve as a global brain trust of top contributors to cancer science and medicine who help advance the mission of the AACR to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.
“The entire MSK community is tremendously proud of these five individuals elected by their peers as Fellows of the AACR Academy,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering. “Their achievements have contributed immensely to our understanding of cancer, and their efforts will continue to inspire the greater scientific community for years to come.”
Members of the 2022 Class of Fellows of the AACR Academy from MSK are:
Luis Alberto Diaz Jr., MD, Grayer Family Chair; Head, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Department of Medicine; Member, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has been inducted for his efforts leading to the first definitive examples of circulating tumor DNA being successfully used as a cancer biomarker for screening, monitoring, and detection of occult disease, and for the discovery of the therapeutic link between immunotherapy and cancer genetics in patients with mismatch repair-deficient tumors.
Thomas J. Kelly, MD, PhD, Benno S. Schmidt Chair of Cancer Research; Member, Molecular Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Professor, Weill Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University, has been recognized for his seminal discoveries that delineated the key principles governing the process of genetic replication and for developing the first cell-free DNA replication system capable of duplicating the complete genomes of viruses including SV40, effectively revolutionizing the cancer research field by creating a tool that allows for the identification and functional characterization of proteins and enzymes required for DNA replication.
Nikola P. Pavletich, PhD, Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair; Member, Structural Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been honored for pioneering the structural analysis of cancer-related proteins and pathways that have led to fundamental discoveries in the areas of cell cycle regulation and DNA-damage response, including groundbreaking work on the crystal structure of the critically important P53 tumor suppressor protein bound to both DNA and the MDM2 oncoprotein. Dr. Pavletich leads The Nikola Pavletich Lab where his research group focuses on structural biology as it relates to genomic integrity and the control of cell growth.
Neal Rosen, MD, PhD, Enid A. Haupt Chair in Medical Oncology; Member, Molecular Pharmacology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute and Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has been inducted for his pioneering work dedicated to elucidating cell signaling mechanisms responsible for human cancers, identifying oncoprotein-dependent feedback inhibition of signaling networks as an important factor in tumor evolution and in the clinical response to targeted inhibitors, characterizing the functional classes of BRAF mutants, and developing numerous inhibitors of malignant transformation by targeting the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK and PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathways.
Alexander Y. Rudensky, PhD, Chair, Immunology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute; Director, Ludwig Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been recognized for pivotal discoveries of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the immune system governing the differentiation and function of regulatory T cells (Treg), the discovery of the FOXP3 gene switch as a cell lineage specification factor for Tregs, and fundamental contributions to understanding the role of Tregs in the control of autoimmunity, immunity to infections, tumor immunity, and cancer progression.