Newswise — William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, will receive the Association of American Cancer Institutes’ (AACI) Distinguished Scientist Award on October 12, during the 2020 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions on travel and gatherings, the meeting will take place in a virtual format.

AACI is recognizing Dr. Kaelin, the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, for his long-term research on how cells sense and adapt to changing oxygen levels.

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Dr. Kaelin, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza. Dr. Kaelin and his collaborators delineated the molecular events used by almost all multi-cellular animals to attune themselves to varying quantities of oxygen. These findings are leading to new therapeutics for disorders ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease. For example, they provided the rationale for the development of drugs that inhibit the HIF transcription factor, or HIF-responsive growth factors such as VEGF, for kidney cancer.

“The AACI Board of Directors and cancer center membership are honored to recognize Dr. Kaelin’s scientific achievements,” said AACI President Roy A. Jensen, MD. “His work has been invaluable to cancer research, as demonstrated by his 2019 Nobel Prize.”

After receiving his MD from Duke University in 1982, Dr. Kaelin served as chief resident in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He began studying tumor suppressor proteins as a medical oncology clinical fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and became an independent investigator there in 1992. He joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1998 and was promoted to Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2002.

Recent AACI Distinguished Scientist honorees include Drs. Douglas R. Lowy, Charles Perou, Carl June, James Allison, and Lewis Cantley.


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