Dr. Denise Galloway, expert in cancer-causing viruses, named 'Woman of Influence'

Puget Sound Business Journal recognizes researcher's impact, scientific leadership

The Puget Sound Business Journal honored pioneering virus researcher Dr. Denise Galloway of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Thursday as a “Woman of Influence” at the news organization’s annual event to recognize noteworthy women of the regional business community.

Galloway was one of 16 2019 Women of Influence feted at the Bellevue, Wash., ceremony. A panel of judges selected awardees from more than 250 nominations.

A photo shows two women standing onstage at podiums. Behind them is a sign that reads: Women of Influence
Dr. Denise Galloway of Fred Hutch, right, answers questions from Puget Sound Business Journal publisher and market president Emily Parkhurst, on Nov. 7, 2019 at PSBJ's Women of Influence award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue (Washington). Photo by Connor O'Shaughnessy / Fred Hutch News Service

Galloway studies cancer-causing viruses, particularly Merkel cell polyomavirus (which is linked to most cases of Merkel cell carcinoma, a deadly skin cancer) and human papillomavirus, or HPV. Her research on that virus paved the way for today’s HPV vaccines, which prevent cervical, oral and genital cancers. 

Today, a major focus of Galloway’s work is how to make the vaccine more widely used. In remarks at Thursday’s award ceremony, she said:

“We still need to find a way to get people to take the vaccine. The uptake of the vaccine in this country is low, and in other parts of the world where it’s really needed, where there’s less screening for cervical cancer, it’s almost nonexistent.

“So, we’re trying to figure out ways we can reduce the number of doses, the cost of the vaccine, to make it accessible to the rest of the world that really needs it,” Galloway said, to applause from the crowd.

Galloway holds the Paul Stephanus Memorial Endowed Chair at Fred Hutch and is scientific director of its Pathogen-Associate Malignancies Integrated Research Center. Her fellow Women of Influence honorees are business and nonprofit leaders in fields ranging from medicine to real estate to tech, and include immediate past chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees and former Washington governor, Christine Gregoire, who is currently the CEO of Challenge Seattle.

In a Q&A with the Puget Sound Business Journal published Thursday, Galloway shared her perspective as a scientific leader and discussed some highlights of her career so far. For example: What was the defining moment that put her on her career trajectory?

Galloway said:

“I was a postdoc [postdoctoral researcher] at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a premier institution for molecular biology. I saw great science and great scientists firsthand. I learned the importance of asking important questions that would make a difference, rather than simply doing something because it was doable.”

— Read the full Q&A with Galloway on bizjournals.com (subscription required).

Read more about Fred Hutch achievements and accolades.

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