Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland elected to AACR Academy

2018 class of fellows recognized for significant contributions to cancer research
Dr. Gary Gilliland
Dr. Gary Gilliland Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

The American Association for Cancer Research today announced that Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is among its newly elected 2018 class of fellows of the AACR Academy.

An expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine, Gilliland joins 11 others in the prestigious academy this year, which recognizes people who have made significant contributions to cancer research. Only individuals whose work has had a major and long-lasting impact on the field are eligible for election as a fellow by their AACR peers.

He was elected “for identifying genetic drivers of various hematologic malignancies, including leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and myeloproliferative disease, and for his contributions to the development of monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapeutics,” according to an AACR news release.

“The 2018 Fellows’ scientific expertise has dramatically transformed the cancer research landscape. Their collective efforts to improve cancer research and patient care are unparalleled and have fundamentally altered the ways in which we study, prevent, diagnose and treat all cancers. We are delighted to announce their election and induction into the prestigious AACR Academy,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of AACR.

Gilliland, who became Fred Hutch’s president and director in January 2015, holds doctorates in microbiology and medicine. He spent 20 years on the faculty at Harvard University, where he was professor of medicine and professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. He was also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the director of the leukemia program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. The bulk of his initial research at Harvard focused on the genetic basis of blood cancers.

In 2009, Gilliland left Harvard to serve as senior vice president and head of global oncology at Merck Research Laboratories. In 2013, he returned to academia when he became the vice dean and vice president of precision medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he worked to bring together research and clinical care initiatives across disciplines to create a model for delivering personalized medicine to patients with a range of diseases.

Gilliland has received many honors and awards for his academic research, including the William Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, the Emil J. Freireich Award from MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation, of which he is an elected member. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association of Physicians.

He will be formally inducted into AACR’s 2018 class of elected fellows at the organization’s annual meeting, which will be held April 14-18 in Chicago.

Other fellows of the AACR Academy from Fred Hutch are:

  • Internationally acclaimed breast oncologist Dr. Nancy E. Davidson, senior vice president and director of the Hutch’s Clinical Research Division and Endowed Chair for Breast Cancer Research, who received the honor last year.
  • Basic Sciences faculty member Dr. Robert Eisenman, who was recognized in 2015 for his ongoing research into mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation, growth and differentiation, and how this regulation is subverted during cancer growth.
  • Fred Hutch President and Director Emeritus Dr. Lee Hartwell, who was inducted in 2013 in recognition of his Nobel Prize–winning research on the cell cycle, a process that describes how cells grow and divide. Hartwell led the Hutch from 1997 to 2010 and is now director of the Pathfinder Center at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine.

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