In recognition of her contributions to the understanding of skin, skin stem cells and skin-related disease, Rockefeller’s Elaine Fuchs will receive the 2014 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research. The award, announced today, will be presented at the AACR Annual Meeting in San Diego in April.
Fuchs, who is the Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and head of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development as well as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is highly regarded for her studies using reverse genetics to understand the biological basis of normal and abnormal skin development and function. Among her important research discoveries was the clarification of the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of skin stem cells to produce the epidermis and its appendages, including hair follicles and sweat and oil glands. She has also defined how the normal biology of skin stem cells can be deregulated in skin cancers and other hyperproliferative disorders of the skin. Her work has implications for skin-related diseases, particularly cancers, genetic diseases and proinflammatory disorders.
“Dr. Fuchs is an exceptional scientist and we are delighted to recognize her pioneering research on the biology of skin stem cells and how they go awry in human diseases of the skin, including cancer,” says Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the AACR. “Her studies have had a profound impact not only on the field of cancer research but also on the research disciplines of genetics and dermatology.”
The Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, now in its 17th year, recognizes an individual scientist of international renown who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.
Fuchs received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her doctorate at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. Fuchs was the Amgen professor of basic sciences at the University of Chicago before joining Rockefeller University in 2002.
Fuchs was named one of the inaugural Fellows of the AACR Academy last year. She has received many additional honors throughout her career, including the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, the National Medal of Science, the Albany Prize in medicine, the Kilgman-Frost Leadership Award from the Society of Investigative Dermatology, L’Oreal-Unesco Award, the March of Dimes Prize, and the Pasarow Award for Cancer Research. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the European National Academy of Sciences.