Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland is a finalist for GeekWire’s Geek of the Year award, which recognizes “Northwest heavy hitters working to do good using technology.”
In announcing Gilliland’s nomination, GeekWire’s Lisa Stiffler referred to his “audacious prediction,” published in GeekWire in 2015, that “it is actually plausible that in 10 years we will have cures and therapies for most, if not all, human cancers.”
Gilliland discussed his bold prediction last October during a Fireside Chat at the 2017 GeekWire Summit in Seattle, one of the premier technology conferences in the U.S.
“Let’s be the state that’s known for working together to implement curative approaches to cancer,” Gilliland said in a moderated talk with GeekWire journalists Alan Boyle and Clare McGrane. “We’re sitting in an environment that’s like nowhere else in the word,” he said, citing the Seattle area’s powerhouse industries not only in biomedical research but in cloud computing and data science.
At the summit Gilliland also spoke of Fred Hutch’s role in the Seattle community — and how, as a pioneer of Seattle’s biotech industry, the Hutch has a longstanding history of fostering and nurturing next-generation scientists.
In addition, the Seattle Partnership for Research on Innovative Therapies, or SPRinT, an alliance between Fred Hutch, University of Washington and Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., is a finalist for GeekWire’s Newcomer of the Year award. SPRinT aims to accelerate drug discovery in diseases with widespread need for novel treatments or cures, including cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and neurological disorders.
Winners of the 10th annual GeekWire Awards will be announced at a ceremony the evening of Thursday, May 10, at the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, in Seattle. They will be selected from 13 categories, including Startup of the Year, Innovation of the Year and Next Tech Titan.
In addition to Gilliland, other contenders for Geek of the Year include Caroline King, co-founder and CEO of nonprofit Washington STEM; Solynn McCurdy, CEO of nonprofit Social Venture Partners; Amy Nelson, co-founder and CEO of the female-focused, co-working space The Riveter; Code.org founder and CEO Hadi Partovi; and Alice Steinglass, president of Code.org.
Finalists for the Newcomer of the Year honor include Baidu, ClusterOne AI, Snowflake and F Bomb Breakfast Club.
Kristen Woodward, a former associate editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, had been in communications at Fred Hutch for more than 20 years. Before that, she was a managing editor at the University of Michigan Health System and a reporter/editor at The Holland Sentinel, a daily in western Michigan. She has received many national awards for health and science writing. She received her B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.