Nobel laureate Smithies named inaugural fellow of preeminent cancer research academy

Nobel laureate Oliver Smithies has been named an inaugural fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy, which was created this year to recognize distinguished scientists whose contributions have propelled innovation and progress in the fight against cancer.

Smithies, the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor in the department of cell biology and physiology, shares his Nobel with Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah and Martin Evans of University College, London, for their revolutionary work into the genetic basis of cancer.

By developing a technique that introduced additional snippets of DNA into cells, a technique also known as gene targeting, Smithies and his colleagues effectively allowed individual genes to be altered at the cellular level. The work paved the way for the development of knockout mice, research animals that have had specific genes switched on or off to allow researchers to investigate their functions and help develop treatments for a variety of genetically-based disorders.

The awarded were chosen by a group of peers who evaluated candidates based on an outstanding history of achievement throughout their careers. Smithies shares the honor with 106 preeminent cancer researchers, symbolizing the age of the American Association for Cancer Research, which was established in 1907.

The inaugural class of fellows will be inducted into the academy on April 5, 2013 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. The induction ceremony will be followed by a meeting of the academy on April 6, and special recognition of the inaugural fellows during the opening plenary session on April 7.

Published March 28, 2013.