2016 Honorees

Joan Brugge, Ph.D. for Basic Science

Dr. Brugge is the Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology and the Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School, where she also served as the Chair of the Department of Cell Biology from 2004 to 2014.

Joan Brugge is a cell biologist specializing in cancer. She is well known for her explorations into the Rous sarcoma virus, extracellular matrix adhesion, and epithelial tumor progression in breast cancer. Brugge originally intended on pursuing a career as a mathematics instructor. While she was attending Northwestern University as an undergraduate student, her sister developed a brain tumor. This event sparked a newfound passion for biology and specifically cancer research. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Northwestern University, her Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado. Dr. Brugge is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Acceptance Remarks – Joan Brugge

Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D. for Basic Science

Dr. Cantley is currently Meyer Director and Professor of Cancer Biology at the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. He was formerly a professor in the Departments of Systems Biology and Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Director of Cancer Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1985 Cantley and colleagues made the seminal discovery of the existence of phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K). He received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in chemistry from Wesleyan College and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the laboratory of Guido Guidotti, where he discovered that an impurity in commercial preparations of ATP, vanadate, acts as a transition state analog for phosphate hydrolysis. In 1978 Cantley became assistant professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard, being promoted to associate professor in 1981. In 1985 he became a full professor in physiology at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Cantley received the Life Science Breakthrough Prize in 2013.

Acceptance Remarks – Lewis Cantley

John Mendelsohn, M.D. for Clinical Development

Dr. Mendelsohn is the past president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is an internationally recognized leader in cancer research. He and his collaborators produced monoclonal antibody 225, commercially known as Erbitux, against the receptor for epidermal growth factor, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of colon cancer in 2004 and for head and neck cancer in 2006. Dr. Mendelsohn received his undergraduate degree in sciences magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1958. He was the first undergraduate student of James D. Watson. After spending a year in Scotland as a Fulbright Scholar in biochemistry, Mendelsohn received his medical degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1963. From 1970 to 1985 at the University of California, San Diego, Mendelsohn was founding director of a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, which he led until he moved to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Acceptance Remarks – John Mendelsohn

Daisy M. Soros  for Philanthropy

Mrs. Soros is the chairman of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a fellowship program that supports two years of graduate studies for 30 New Americans each year. She was married to the late Paul Soros, founder of Soros Associates. Mrs. Soros grew up in Hungary. After graduating the Lutheran Gymnasium, she got her diploma from École hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. She came to the United States as a graduate student at Columbia University. She later attended the New York School of Interior Design, and NYU’s School of Social Work, and worked extensively as a counselor to terminally ill patients and their families. Mrs. Soros is a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College. In an effort to promote the mission and ideals of academic medicine, she founded the popular Information Please luncheon lecture series. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the Medical College’s Discoveries that Make a Difference Campaign and is founder of the Dean’s Council. In 1997, Paul and Daisy Soros established the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She also serves on the boards of The Society of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Foreign Policy Association, The American Austrian Foundation, the New York Philharmonic and is an honorary trustee of International House New York.

Acceptance Remarks – Daisy Soros