Our world-class scientists, including three Nobel Laureates, have revolutionized the prevention, detection and treatment of many cancers and other diseases. Their scientific and medical work consistently wins recognition from national and international organizations.
In addition, dozens of our health care providers are honored annually for their dedication to comprehensive and expert patient care. Fred Hutch/University of Washington Medical Center has been recognized as one of the best hospitals in the nation year after year for adult cancer treatment.
The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine is considered the world’s most distinguished honor for outstanding contributions to basic and clinical medical research. In addition to physiology or medicine, Nobel Prizes are awarded in chemistry, economic sciences, literature, peace and physics. The awards were established in 1895 though the will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish-born inventor and international industrialist.
The late Dr. E. Donnall “Don” Thomas received the 1990 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for establishing bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation as a lifesaving treatment for leukemia and other blood diseases. He shared the honor with Dr. Joseph E. Murray, an American surgeon who performed the first successful human organ transplant (a kidney transplanted from one identical twin to another). Thomas’ groundbreaking work has had a global impact; more than 1.3 million transplants have been performed worldwide, boosting survival rates from nearly zero to up to 90% for some blood cancers. His advances laid the groundwork for today’s immunotherapies, which harness the power of the immune system to kill cancer. Thomas, known as “the father of bone marrow transplantation,” edited the earliest editions of the seminal textbook that was later named in his honor: Thomas’ Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. A founding faculty member of Fred Hutch and director emeritus of its Clinical Research Division, Thomas died in 2012 at age 92.
Geneticist Dr. Leland “Lee” Hartwell, president and director emeritus of Fred Hutch, in 2001 received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering the universal mechanism that controls cell division in all eukaryotic, or nucleated, organisms — from yeast to frogs to humans. He shared the honor with British scientists Sir Timothy Hunt and Sir Paul Nurse. Using yeast as a model, Hartwell was the first to harness the tools of genetics to study how cells function and, subsequently, to determine which genes cause cells to divide. Understanding how cells control their multiplication and development, and how that process can go awry, allows scientists to learn how cancer cells mutate and develop approaches that predict, prevent or reverse that mutation. Hartwell, who was at the helm of Fred Hutch from 1997 to 2010, conducted most of his groundbreaking research at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he was a professor of genetics. In 2010 he joined the faculty of Arizona State University, where he directs its Biodesign Pathfinder Center.
Dr. Linda Buck, a neurobiologist, in 2004 received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for her groundbreaking work on odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system — the network responsible for our sense of smell. She determined that the molecular basis of smell is a multigene family that encodes 1,000 different olfactory receptors in the nose. Buck made these discoveries as a senior postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Axel of Columbia University, with whom she shared the Nobel. Their work, co-published in 1991, was the first to define the remarkable complexity of one of our sensory systems at the detailed level of the genes and proteins that control it — a landmark achievement in the study of the nervous system. Buck is a member of the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and an affiliate professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington.
Hartwell was one of three scientists to share the 1998 award. They were honored for discovering a universal mechanism that controls cell division in all eukaryotic organisms (organisms whose cells contain a nucleus), from yeast to frogs to humans. Hartwell also provided evidence that cells have “checkpoints” for detecting and repairing errors that might occur during cell division. His findings on normal cell division laid the groundwork for further research on how this process goes awry in cancer cells.
The Lasker Awards are among the most respected science prizes in the world. Since 1945, the Lasker Foundation has recognized the contributions of scientists, physicians and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of human disease. Lasker Awards often presage recognition by the Nobel committee, so they have become popularly known as “America's Nobels."
The Gairdner Foundation was created in 1957 by James Arthur Gairdner to recognize and reward the achievements of medical researchers whose work contributes significantly to improving the quality of human life. Since the first awards were made in 1959, the Gairdner Awards have become Canada's foremost international award. They honor the world's most creative and accomplished researchers from every field of bioscience.
Thomas forever changed cancer treatment when he pioneered bone marrow transplantation. His most powerful legacy: the number of lives saved worldwide every year thanks to his work.
By identifying “checkpoint” genes that determine whether a cell is dividing normally, Hartwell provided important clues to cancer, which arises from uncontrolled cell growth.
Buck did groundbreaking work on odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system — the network responsible for our sense of smell.
The MacArthur Fellows Program of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards unrestricted $500,000 fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. The criteria for selection are exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.
Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their career. Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their creative instincts for the benefit of human society.
The National Academy of Sciences is an honorific society of distinguished scholars who are engaged in scientific and engineering research and dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and their use for the general welfare. The NAS was signed into being by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War. As mandated in its Act of Incorporation, the NAS has served to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art” whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.
Founded in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is a private, nonprofit institution that aims to improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity, and providing independent, authoritative, and trusted advice nationally and globally. The NAM is also an honorific society, its members elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding achievement. Through a commitment to volunteer service, NAM members help guide the work and advance the mission of the NAM and the National Academies.
For more than 225 years, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has been honoring excellence and providing service to the nation and the world. Through independent, nonpartisan study, its ranks of distinguished “scholar-patriots” have brought the arts and sciences into constructive interplay with the leaders of both the public and private sectors. The Academy was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other leaders who contributed prominently to the establishment of the new nation, its government and its constitution. Its purpose was to provide a forum for a select group of scholars, members of the learned professions, and government and business leaders to work together on behalf of the democratic interests of the republic. Today the Academy is an international learned society with a dual function: to elect to membership men and women of exceptional achievement, drawn from science, scholarship, business, public affairs and the arts, and to conduct a varied program of projects and studies that are responsive to the needs and problems of society.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and it spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer, and to leverage the expertise of the global brain trust of Fellows of the AACR Academy to advance AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication and collaboration.
The European Academy of Sciences is a nonprofit, non-governmental, independent organization of the most distinguished scholars and engineers performing forefront research and the development of advanced technologies, united by a commitment to promoting science and technology and their essential roles in fostering social and economic development.
The U.K.-based Royal Society is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding charters of the 1660s, is to recognize, promote and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.
The Joseph F. Fraumeni Jr. Distinguished Achievement Award is bestowed annually by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. It honors outstanding scientists in the areas of preventive oncology, cancer control and prevention. Presented since 1983, the award was renamed in 2016 in honor of renowned cancer epidemiologist Dr. Joseph Fraumeni Jr., scientist emeritus of the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. He is perhaps best known for his discovery (along with Dr. Frederick P. Li) of an inherited increased risk of early-onset cancers known as Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a nonprofit research organization that engages in the direct conduct of research. The institute's original charter states, “The primary purpose and objective of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute shall be the promotion of human knowledge within the field of the basic sciences (principally the field of medical research and medical education) and the effective application thereof for the benefit of mankind.”
The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE, conferred annually at the White House, is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. The award embodies the government’s commitment to maintaining the nation’s leadership in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development.
The PECASE is intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the 21st century. The award fosters innovative and far-reaching developments in science and technology, increases awareness of careers in science and engineering, gives recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhances connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlights the importance of science and technology for the nation’s future.
The Allen Distinguished Investigator Award program was launched in 2010 by the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute. The award funds early-stage research that is less likely to receive support from traditional funding sources but has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of biology. The award confers $1.5 million in research support over three years for studies of lymphoma, neuroscience, the immune system, aging and development, and basic biology.
The W. M. Keck Foundation’s Distinguished Young Scholars Program is a groundbreaking initiative created to give the nation’s most promising young scientists the resources needed to pursue potentially breakthrough biomedical research projects. Established as a five-year program in 1999, the W. M. Keck Foundation renewed the program for additional years in 2004 and 2008. The program ended in 2009. During its existence, it awarded nearly $55 million to 54 of America’s most promising scientists, many of whom have gone on to publish pioneering work and assume leadership positions in their field.
The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, supports young investigators of outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences relevant to the advancement of human health. Nominations for the awards are invited from a limited number of institutions that are selected on the basis of the scope of their biomedical research.
The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to academic institutions to support the independent research of outstanding young faculty in chemistry and the biomedical sciences. Awardees must have recently begun their first tenure-track appointment at the assistant professor level.
The Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Cancer Research promoted and rewarded seminal contributions to the understanding of cancer through basic cancer research.
The dedicated physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at Fred Hutch are consistently selected as Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine, Seattle Met magazine or both. To compile the annual lists, health care practitioners licensed by the Washington State Department of Health in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Pierce counties are asked in a poll, “If you or a loved one needed care, whom would you choose?” Voters nominate their peers based on elements such as years of experience, patient satisfaction, competency and the ability to work effectively with colleagues across specialties to deliver the best care to patients.
Fred Hutch/University of Washington Medical Center has been recognized as one of the best hospitals in the nation for adult cancer care by U.S. News & World Report year after year and has been the top ranked cancer hospital in the Pacific Northwest for more than 10 years. We have earned “High Performing” ratings in multiple areas, such as colon cancer surgery and lung cancer surgery, in recognition of care that was significantly better than the national average, as measured by factors including patient outcomes.
The annual rankings and ratings are designed to assist patients and their physicians in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures.
The DAISY Award honors the clinical skill and compassion nurses exhibit, wherever they practice, in whatever role they serve, throughout their careers. The award originated at Fred Hutch and now is given across more than 4,500 health care facilities worldwide.
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