AACR Annual Report 2020

Fellows of the AACR Academy:
Leading Progress Against Cancer

The AACR Academy was established in 2013 to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. While their individual contributions to the field have accelerated progress against cancer, the Fellows of the AACR Academy also guide that progress, providing advice and counsel to the organization’s leadership on questions of science and public policy.

AACR Academy Steering Committee: New President‑Elect

The AACR Academy is governed by an elected president and Steering Committee, who provide sound scientific and policy guidance to the AACR leadership. In June, the Fellows elected Charles L. Sawyers, MD, FAACR, as the 2020–2021 president-elect of the Academy. He will assume the presidency and succeed current AACR Academy President Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH, FAACR, during the AACR Annual Meeting 2021.

AACR Academy President (2019–2021)

Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH, FAACR

AACR Academy President-Elect (2020–2021)

Charles L. Sawyers, MD, FAACR

AACR Academy Steering Committee

Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, FAACR
Joan S. Brugge, PhD, FAACR
Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, FAACR
Suzanne Cory, PhD, FRS, FAACR
Raymond N. DuBois, MD, PhD, FAACR
Elaine Fuchs, PhD, FAACR
Tyler Jacks, PhD, FAACR
Karen H. Vousden, PhD, FAACR

Class of 2020

Myles A. Brown, MD, FAACR

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

For elucidating the role of steroid hormones and their receptors in promoting the onset and progression of various hormone-dependent malignancies and for the discovery of regulatory complex components such as the p160 class of transcriptional co-activators that facilitate the epigenetic regulation of steroid receptor activity.

Judith Campisi, PhD, FAACR

Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, California

For groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the links between aging and cancer and for her research related to identifying the molecular mechanisms associated with cellular senescence, aging, and tumorigenesis, which has defined the role of DNA damage and repair in genomic stability and premature aging.

Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, FAACR

Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

For demonstrating the presence of chromosomal rearrangements in solid tumors including the identification of the TMPRSS2-ETS family of gene fusions and for harnessing such discoveries to define novel underlying pathologies in prostate cancer as well as other epithelial cancers.

Alan D. D'Andrea, MD, FAACR

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

For pivotal contributions to the field of DNA damage and repair that have defined the specific defects responsible for the development of Fanconi Anemia and for elucidating the role of nuclear protein complexes in chromatin remodeling, cell cycle checkpoints, and DNA repair.

Mark M. Davis, PhD, FAACR

Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California

For identifying the first T cell receptor genes responsible for the detection of foreign antigens, contributing to the characterization of T cell receptor variable regions, and for developing imaging techniques capable of capturing interactions that occur at immunological synapses.

Gregory J. Hannon, PhD, FAACR

University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom

For fundamental contributions to characterizing the role of cyclin-dependent kinases and small RNAs including microRNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs, and short-hairpin RNAs in cell cycle regulation, carcinogenesis, and drug development.

Rakesh K. Jain, PhD, FAACR

Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts

For landmark studies describing and highlighting the relationship between the tumor microenvironment and surrounding vasculature and for his investigations involving antiangiogenic therapy to induce tumor vascular normalization that have resulted in improved survival rates for a number of solid tumors.

Maria Jasin, PhD, FAACR

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

For illuminating the role of homologous recombination in maintaining genetic stability, demonstrating the crucial role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in facilitating such genetic events, and for proving that BRCA2 loss, coupled with aberrant p53 activity in breast cells, can result in replication stress and subsequent tumorigenesis.

Robert S. Langer, ScD, FAACR

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

For vast contributions and discoveries in the field of drug delivery systems and for spearheading the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, generating synthetic polymer systems capable of facilitating controlled-drug release as well as serving as platforms for the engineering of blood vessels, cartilage, and skin.

Bert W. O'Malley, MD, FAACR

Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

For pioneering research focused on the understanding of molecular endocrinology, gene regulation, and steroid receptor biology that has revealed how intracellular hormones and cofactors function at the DNA level to regulate protein production, affect cellular function, and modulate cancer cell metastasis.

Drew Mark Pardoll, MD, PhD, FAACR

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

For enriching the understanding of tumor immunology and immunotherapy through his discovery of gamma-delta T cells, natural killer T cells, and interferon-producing killer dendritic cells, and for his contributions to developing GVAX and Listeria monocytogenes-based cancer vaccines.

Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, FAACR

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

For dissecting the role of intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and metastatic disease to develop risk assessment and personalized cancer therapy models and for extensively characterizing the metastatic potential of polyclonal tumors compared to monoclonal tumors.

Peter J. Ratcliffe, FRS, FAACR

University of Oxford
Francis Crick Institute
London, United Kingdom

For his landmark, Nobel Prize-winning contributions to our understanding of the molecular responses to oxygen depletion, specifically the identification of oxygen sensing and signaling pathways that link hypoxia-inducible factor 1 to the availability of oxygen, which has proved critically important to the understanding of tumor initiation and progression.

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, FAACR

University of California Los Angeles Medical Center
Los Angeles, California

For his seminal clinical research contributions that have led to the development of pembrolizumab as the first-in-class approved anti-PD-1 immunotherapy for the treatment of melanoma, for his characterization of BRAF, CTLA-4, and MEK in cancer, and for deciphering molecular mechanisms responsible for immunotherapeutic resistance, which has since fueled additional efforts to understand the relationship between the immune system and cancer.

Gregg L. Semenza, MD, PhD, FAACR

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland

For his revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning contributions toward uncovering the molecular mechanisms of oxygen regulation within cells and for discovering hypoxia-inducible factor 1, critical for cellular adaptation to changing oxygen levels, which has had far-reaching implications for the treatment of numerous diseases characterized by low oxygen levels, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Charles Swanton, MBPhD, FRCP, FMedSci, FRS, FAACR

The Francis Crick Institute
University College London Cancer Institute
London, United Kingdom

For his innovative research focused on identifying molecular mechanisms of cancer evolution and its impact on drug resistance and patient stratification and for demonstrating the crucial biological connection between intratumor heterogeneity and clinical cancer biomarker efficacy.

David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD, FAACR

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center
Cold Spring Harbor, New York
St. Louis, Missouri

For his trailblazing contributions to establishing human pancreatic cancer mouse models, for developing preclinical and clinical therapeutic strategies for the disease, and for characterizing many of the barriers to successful pancreatic cancer treatment, including poor drug delivery and the presence of survival factors in the microenvironment.

Michael Wigler, PhD, FAACR

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor, New York

For his renowned contributions to cancer genetics and the establishment of genetically engineered animal cells, and for first describing a role for the RAS gene family in human cancer and describing how point mutations are capable of activating the oncogenic potential of select genes.

Sir Gregory P. Winter, CBE, FRS, FMedSci, FAACR

Trinity College
Cambridge, United Kingdom

For Nobel Prize-winning scientific breakthroughs including the development of the first humanized antibodies, the establishment of refined phage display technology that has led to the development of adalimumab, the first marketed fully human antibody approved by the FDA, and collective contributions to the generation of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers and autoimmune diseases.


The AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers is advanced by both innovative science and innovative leadership. AACR Scientific Achievement Awards and Lectureships honor both types of innovators, acknowledging the individuals who make breakthrough discoveries and those who make such breakthroughs possible.

Recognizing a Model of Team Science

With its 2020 Team Science Award, the AACR highlighted one of the fundamental projects in the cancer research community. The award was presented to the founders and the current project team members of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. Since its founding in 2006—through the seminal contributions of Anna D. Barker, PhD, and Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD—TCGA has brought together investigators from a broad range of disciplines and institutions to create a detailed catalog of genomic changes associated with specific types of cancer. The award recognized the members of the team (see below) for their extensive collaborations and ongoing efforts to generate one of the largest-ever sets of tumor characterization data.

Honoring Excellence in Pediatric Cancer Research

The AACR’s capacity for innovation also extends to the structure of its awards. In 2020, the AACR announced a new collaboration with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to establish the AACR-St. Baldrick's Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research. The award recognizes major research discoveries in pediatric cancer research and honors an individual who has significantly contributed to any area of pediatric cancer research, resulting in the fundamental improvement of the understanding and/or treatment of pediatric cancer.

The innovative aspect of this new award is its recognition of early-career scientists. The award recipient is also afforded an opportunity to nominate junior faculty to receive a one-year, $75,000 AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fellowship—sustaining the pipeline of cancer scientists and supporting the next generation of scientific excellence.

2020 Award and Lectureship Recipients

AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, FAACR

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Cancer Research
Cigall Kadoch, PhD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts

AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research
Benjamin F. Cravatt III, PhD

The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, California

Susan E. Hankinson, ScD, MPH

University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts

Lourdes Báezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research
Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD

University of Chicago Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Chicago, Illinois

AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research
Sherene Loi, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, FAHMS

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
Christopher I. Amos, PhD

Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology
Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, FAACR

National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, Maryland

AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Award for Outstanding Basic Cancer Research
Michael Karin, PhD, FAACR

University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California

AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship
Barbara J. Wold, PhD

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California

AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Cancer Research
Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship
Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH

Weill Cornell Medical Center
New York, New York

AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship
Tyler Jacks, PhD, FAACR

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research
James R. Downing, MD

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee

AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research
Luis A. Diaz, MD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship
Patricia S. Steeg, PhD

National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, Maryland

Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research
John E. Dick, PhD, FAACR

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

AACR Team Science Award

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Founding Members
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

TCGA Founders
Anna D. Barker, PhD
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
National Cancer Institute Directors
During Launch of TCGA Pilot Projects
Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD
Director: 2002–2006
John E. Niederhuber, MD
Director: 2006–2010
National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB)
Working Group on Biomedical
Technology Leaders
Eric S. Lander, PhD, FAACR (Cochair)
Leland H. Hartwell, PhD, FAACR (Cochair)

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Current Project Team
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Team Leader
Jean C. Zenklusen, PhD