March 2, 2010

Salk Institute cancer researcher Tony Hunter named to Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair

Salk News

Salk Institute cancer researcher Tony Hunter named to Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies today announced the appointment of Professor Tony Hunter, Ph.D., as the inaugural holder of the Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair, created in memory of their daughter Marian Mitchell through a $2 million gift by the estate of Frederick W. Mitchell.

The endowed chair has been established under the Joan Klein Jacobs and Irwin Mark Jacobs Senior Scientist Endowed Chair Challenge, which augments the Mitchell estate’s gift with an additional $1 million.

Dr. 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, 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. His lab continues to study signal transduction and its roles in normal and abnormal cell development.

“We are fortunate to have a scientist of Tony’s caliber on the Institute’s faculty,” said Salk President William R. Brody. “He is a man of many talents and is most deserving of this latest honor.”

Hunter is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His extraordinary work has garnered international acclaim. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of London. He holds the 2006 Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Award for Cancer Research; the 2005 Wolf Prize in Medicine, Israel’s top recognition for achievements in the interest of humanity; the 2004 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, a leading national award for scientific achievement; and Japan’s 2001 Keio Medical Science Prize.

“We are deeply grateful to the Mitchell estate for this most generous gift that enables us to honor and recognize one of our most distinguished senior scientists,” said Salk Executive Vice President Marsha A. Chandler. “The contribution, along with the Jacobs’ matching gift, allows us to provide Dr. Hunter and subsequent holders of this chair with financial support that will encourage continued breakthroughs in childhood disease research at the Salk Institute.”

Launched in 2008 with a $10 million matching fund, the Jacobs Chair Challenge encourages and enables donors to create prestigious, permanent chairs in support of senior faculty members at Salk.

The $2 million endowed chair is part of a more than $3.2 million bequest to the Salk Institute from the Frederick W. Mitchell estate.

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.

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