Newswise — Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, executive vice president and vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at NYU Langone Health, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Appointment to this prestigious community is one of the highest honors a scientist can receive, and recognizes extraordinary continuing and distinguished research achievements. Members of this elite group participate in committees to address some of society's toughest challenges.

Bar-Sagi is a world-renowned cancer biologist whose pioneering work has reshaped understanding of fundamental processes that transform normal cells to cancer cells. Her basic and translational research has focused on the cancer-promoting Ras genes and their roles in tumor initiation and progression. She is credited with delineating the role of Ras genes in regulating immune evasion, metabolic adaptation, and tumor cell fitness.  

Over the past two decades, she and her team have actively pursued new approaches to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer, a deadly disease driven by Ras genes. These efforts are beginning to yield new therapeutic avenues. In the course of her scientific career, Bar-Sagi has trained 40 graduate students and 22 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom carry forth her exceptional passion for science and exemplary commitment to excellence in their independent careers in biomedical research.

Outside the lab, she brings the same energy and unwavering pursuit of quality to every aspect of her demanding role leading NYU Langone’s research enterprise. Under her leadership, NYU Langone has become the fastest growing and most productive research enterprise nationally, with NIH awards having doubled.

"The entire NYU Langone Health community extends congratulations to Dr. Bar-Sagi on this important achievement,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO. “It also underscores our institution's increasingly important role in advancing cancer research and discovery."

In addition to her latest honor, Bar-Sagi has received the National Cancer Institute's Outstanding Investigator Award and its Merit Award, and serves as chair of its Board of Scientific Advisors. She also is a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy. She has been a member of many other scientific advisory boards, and has served as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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