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AACR Names Barbara J. Wold, PhD, Recipient of Distinguished Lectureship


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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced the awarding of the 2020 AACR–Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship to Barbara J. Wold, PhD. Dr. Wold was recently appointed as Director of the Merkin Institute for Translational Research at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. She is also the Bren Professor of Molecular Biology and the Principal Investigator of the Functional Genomics Resource Center at the Beckman Institute at Caltech.

Barbara J. Wold, PhD

Barbara J. Wold, PhD

Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, FAACR

Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, FAACR

In announcing the award, 2019–2020 AACR President, Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, FAACR, said: “I am so pleased to recognize the foundational work of Dr. Barbara J. Wold in her development of RNA sequencing methodology and analytics, which have transformed many aspects of biomedical science and cancer research. Her contributions have been substantial and truly are in accord with the principles that inspired the AACR–Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship.”

Pioneering Contributions

Dr. Wold has made important contributions to the use of deep next-generation sequencing techniques to study RNA expression in mice. She was among the first to use deep next-generation sequencing profiling, noting the expression of both known and not-yet-annotated genes and splice isoforms. Her work has been pivotal in defining bioinformatic methods to analyze RNA-sequencing data, providing information on the transcriptome and regulatory element networks that drive cell state transitions in the development and differentiation of individual cells. Dr. Wold’s current research work focuses on the genomics of human disease states including cancer.

Throughout her career, Dr. Wold has served as a leading voice for the importance of developing clear standards and guidelines for establishing reproducibility in data analysis. She  helped found the L.K. Whittier Gene Expression Center and the Special Center for Biological Circuit Design at Caltech. In 2012, she founded the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genomics. Dr. Wold earned her doctorate in molecular development biology from Caltech.

The AACR–Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship was established in 2004 to acknowledge an individual whose outstanding scientific innovation and thought leadership have inspired creative thinking and new directions in cancer research. The recipient of this award is selected annually by the AACR President.

 


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