Mary Beckerle, PhD
Mary Beckerle, PhD, Chief Executive -Officer and Director of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, is this year’s recipient of the Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The prestigious award is named after Alfred G. Knudson, MD, PhD, a physician and researcher whose work added major insights to the understanding of the genetic basis of cancer. The award is presented by the NCI each year to a scientist who has made significant research contributions to the field of cancer genetics. Dr. Beckerle is the 22nd Knudson award winner.
Dr. Beckerle received the award and presented the award lecture, “Interface Between Cytoskeletal Dynamics and Tumor Biology,” at the NCI in Bethesda, Maryland, in January.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have the cancer research accomplishments of my laboratory recognized by the NCI,” said Dr. Beckerle. “I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many talented graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and colleagues at Huntsman Cancer Institute, the University of Utah, and around the world as we have worked to understand fundamental aspects of cell biology with the goal of improving cancer -treatments.”
Dr. Beckerle’s research has discovered a new pathway that is critical for the ability of cells to respond to mechanical signals in their environment. Such signals are now known to regulate cell growth and movement—two behaviors that are critically important in tumor biology. Her lab is currently focused on understanding the impact of this pathway on tumor progression, particularly in Ewing sarcoma, a rare but deadly bone cancer that typically affects children and young adults. ■