March 25, 2013
LA JOLLA, CA—The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to accelerating scientific progress to prevent and cure cancer, has selected four Salk scientists and two of the Institute’s nonresident fellows to be inducted in its first class of the fellows of the AACR Academy.
Distinguished professors and Nobel laureates, Sydney Brenner and Roger Guillemin, faculty members Tony Hunter, a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and director of Salk Institute Cancer Center, and Geoffrey M. Wahl, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, all will be honored at a special ceremony on April 5, 2013, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
Salk nonresident fellows and Nobel laureates, David Baltimore and Elizabeth H. Blackburn were also named to the distinguished Academy. Nonresident fellows are a group of scientists from world-renowned academic and research institutions that are nominated by the Salk’s president and faculty and serve as advisory members on the Institute’s appointments, promotions and scientific programs.
“It is a great honor to have a team of our scientists chosen for the inaugural class of the AACR Fellows, and indicative of the deep commitment and impact of our research in fighting cancer,” says William R. Brody, president of Salk Institute.
The AACR Fellows Academy is a separate entity within the American Association for Cancer Research, and only individuals who have made exceptional contributions to cancer and/or cancer-related biomedical science are eligible for election. It was created to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer.
“Our Board of Directors made the decision to establish the AACR Academy as a mechanism for recognizing scientists whose contributions to the cancer field have had an extraordinary impact. Membership in the Fellows of the AACR Academy will be the most prestigious honor bestowed by the American Association for Cancer Research,” says Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the AACR.The inaugural class of fellows includes 106 individuals to symbolize the age of the organization upon establishment of the academy. Future classes of fellows will consist of no more than 11 individuals, in honor of the founding members of the American Association for Cancer Research and who will be elected by a vote of all the fellows of the AACR Academy.
Brenner, a senior distinguished fellow of the Salk’s Crick-Jacobs Center, won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his contributions toward discoveries in how genes regulate organ growth and the process of programmed cell death. Considered one of the past century’s leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined. He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics. His research with Caenorhabditis elegans garnered insights into aging, nerve cell function and controlled cell death.
Guillemin, a distinguished professor and former president of Salk, won the Nobel Prize in 1977 for discoveries that laid the foundation for brain hormone research. His work brought to light an entire new class of substances shown to be important for the regulation growth, development, reproduction and responses to stress. The impact of Guillemin’s research has been profound for a variety of diseases and disorders, including thyroid diseases, problems of infertility, diabetes and several types of tumors. He is considered the founder of the field of neuroendocrinology.
Hunter is an American Cancer Society professor and a senior scientist in Salk’s Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory. As the director of the Institute’s NCI-designated Cancer Center and holder of the Renato Dulbecco Chair, Hunter studies how cells regulate their growth and division, and how mutations in genes that regulate growth lead to cancer. Hunter’s lab has made significant research contributions in the area of signal transduction — how signals that stimulate or rein in cell growth are routed. Signal transduction is involved in almost every aspect of normal cell development, and minor defects cause a cell to start growing uncontrollably and turn cancerous. Such mutations are the underlying cause of most pediatric cancers.
Geoffrey M. Wahl
Wahl is a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory and former president of the American Association for Cancer Research. Holder of the Daniel and Martina Lewis Chair, Wahl seeks to determine how cancers originate and progress, and why tumors become resistant to even the most powerful anti-cancer drugs. His goal is to translate the knowledge and understanding gained from basic research into the development of new treatment strategies to more effectively manage all types of cancer.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR
marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit
About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and infectious diseases by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.
Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M..D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.