Salk researcher Geofrey M. Wahl, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow, an honor bestowed upon members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by their peers.
Wahl was among 486 individuals awarded membership by the AAAS for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science. The new Fellows were presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin during the 2009 AAAS annual meeting in Chicago on Feb. 14.
Wahl and his team of investigators study the genetic basis of the origin and progression of cancer, while also working toward the development of new targeted therapeutic strategies. Their work has demonstrated that integrity of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway is essential for maintaining genome stability.
Their current research uses the p53 pathway as a model to understand the mechanisms by which normal and cancer cells sense and respond to the diverse stresses that contribute to cancer development. Wahl and his team are identifying, isolating and characterizing stem cells in different tissues, and developing safer and more effective strategies to convert differentiated cells into stem cells for use in therapies.
A past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (2006-2007), which is the largest and oldest organization devoted to cancer research in the world, Wahl remains a strong supporter of cancer research outside of the laboratory by lobbying Congress for increased funding, and has written about the societal and economic benefits of cancer research for the lay press.