Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director, Duke Cancer Institute, and Paul Modrich, PhD, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, have been elected as Fellows of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Academy Class of 2017.
The AACR Academy serves to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. All Fellows are nominated and elected through a rigorous peer-review process conducted by existing Fellows of the AACR Academy and ratified by the AACR Executive Committee. This process involves an assessment of each candidate on the basis of his or her scientific achievements in cancer research and cancer-related biomedical science. Only individuals whose work has had a significant and enduring impact on the field are eligible for election as AACR Fellows.
Michael B. Kastan, who assumed leadership of Duke Cancer Institute in 2011, is the William and Jane Shingleton Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Professor of Pediatrics. His research spans more than three decades and includes several focus areas, including cellular responses to DNA damage and their impact on cell viability and cancer formation.
Kastan is being recognized for ascertaining key steps of the DNA damage response pathway, deciphering mechanisms of p53-mediated cell cycle inhibition, and for defining the role of ATM in modulating mitochondrial function, insulin signaling, and cellular metabolism.
Kastan is the recipient of numerous honors. Last year he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Kastan was elected in 2014 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in that same year, he was inducted a fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Kastan is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Paul L. Modrich is the James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He has spent 40 years studying DNA repair, much of it at Duke. Modrich joined the Department of Biochemistry in 1976. Modrich is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and the National Academy of Sciences. Modrich was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in the UK, and Aziz Sancar of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Modrich is being recognized by AACR for his work clarifying the mechanisms of DNA mismatch repair and demonstrating its role in the onset of various cancers including hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer.
“These celebrated individuals comprise a prestigious brain trust of global leaders in cancer research who provide scientific insight and expert guidance in science policy to the AACR as the organization continues to pursue its important mission to accelerate the prevention and cure of all cancers," said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “This year’s newly elected Fellows from the U.S. and around the world have made quintessential scientific discoveries that revolutionize how we study, treat and prevent cancer."
Kastan and Modrich will be inducted into the AACR Academy on Friday, March 31, at the Willard Intercontinental in Washington, D.C. For more on information the American Association of Cancer Research and the Academy Class of 2017, visit AACR.