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Special Spotlight: Levi A. Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., Receives Prestigious Jane Cooke Wright Award from American Association for Cancer Research

, by CRCHD Staff

Levi A. Garraway, M.D., Ph.D.

Levi A. Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., a former CRCHD CURE trainee, and current, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at Harvard University, in Boston, Massachusetts, received the prestigious Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship Award at the 2014 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in San Diego April 6th.

The award, which comes with a $5,000 honorarium, is presented each year by AACR and its Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) group to an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to cancer research and furthered the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research. Garraway was the ninth recipient of the award, which was established in 2006.

"It meant so much to me to receive this award at the AACR Annual Meeting this year," Garraway said. "The Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship is special, not only because it honors the legacy of a wonderful pioneer, but also because it continues to remind us all that talent and meaningful contributions can come from anywhere or anyone, regardless of background or history."

Jane Cooke Wright, M.D. was an exceptional cancer scientist and pioneer in clinical cancer chemotherapy. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 93. A member of the AACR since 1954, Wright became the highest-ranking black woman at a nationally recognized medical institution in 1967, at a time when there were only a few hundred black, female physicians in the United States.

After receiving the award, Garraway presented his lecture entitled "The Cancer Genome in Biology, Therapy, and Drug Resistance."

Garraway is widely known for his research in the field of cancer genomics and functional approaches to characterization of solid tumors, particularly melanoma and prostate cancers. His laboratory is currently engaged in a range of projects related to the study of mechanisms of tumor genesis, mechanisms of resistance to targeted treatments, and the development of novel approaches that will enable precision cancer medicine.

In addition to contributing to scientific advances, Garraway has been dedicated to inspiring young people from underrepresented populations to pursue science. He says he, himself, was fortunate to encounter special people along the way who were committed to helping him become a better doctor and scientist. In his desire to "pay it forward," Garraway mentors underrepresented high school and college students, and as a former CURE recipient, has presented and participated in CRCHD's professional development workshops.

Garraway can proudly place this latest award alongside his long list of previous awards and honors for his contributions to the field of cancer. These include the Minority Scholar Award from AACR, the Partners in Excellence Award from Massachusetts General Hospital, the Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research.

Garraway was born in Oakland, California. He received his A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1990, and his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard Medical School in 1999.

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