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  • Previous Brinker Award Winners


    Yosef Yarden, Ph.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his extensive contributions to breast cancer research, which have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the biology of growth factors and their receptors, and their role in human cancers. His research has been crucial to establishing growth factor receptors—particularly the HER2 receptor—as prime targets for cancer drugs. Prof. Yarden's pioneering work in growth factor receptor signaling and regulation has helped unravel the role of growth factors in cancer and laid the foundation for the development of cancer drugs that target growth factor receptors. His work will have a lasting impact on breast cancer research and treatment for years to come.

    Hyman B. Muss, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his critical contributions to the treatment of breast cancer, in particular the treatment of breast cancer in older women. His work on clinical trials specifically targeted to older women has provided the foundation for offering geriatric patients state-of-the art treatments and has had a significant impact on the standard of care and quality of life for elderly women with breast cancer. Dr. Muss' research has brought attention to the issues specific to elderly breast cancer patients and has advanced the clinical care of this special population of patients. His work is improving the lives of countless women every year, and his impact on the breast cancer community will be felt for years to come.


    Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his extensive contributions to breast cancer research, which have been instrumental in explaining the role of several key proteins and growth factor receptors in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. Dr. Arteaga's research has contributed to the foundation for clinical use of several widely used breast cancer drugs that target these proteins, and has demonstrated the potential for targeting others in future therapy development. His research has been instrumental in characterizing the role of several key pathways in breast cancer, including pathways that are responsible for breast cancer cell growth, division, and metastasis. Throughout his career as a physician-scientist, many of Dr. Arteaga's mechanistic research studies have translated from the bench to the bedside and have impacted the current and future approaches to breast cancer treatment. 

    Armando E. Giuliano, M.D., FACS, FRCSEd, received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research for his seminal work investigating sentinel lymph node biopsy as an alternative to removal of underarm lymph nodes (complete axillary dissection) for women with breast cancer. His work has had a significant impact on the standard of care and quality of life for breast cancer survivors by reducing the side effects associated with determining lymph node involvement. Dr. Giuliano's 30-year research career as a breast surgeon-scientist has been dedicated to reducing the short- and long-term side effects associated with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Some of his endeavors include analysis of fine needle aspiration as a diagnostic tool, comparison of mastectomy to lumpectomy, and other studies that have reduced the need for radical surgery in many breast cancer patients. He has also studied the benefits of sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer patients and led two large, ground-breaking clinical trials. 



    Jeffrey M. Rosen, Ph.D. completed his postdoctoral studies at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Bert W. O'Malley were concerned with the mechanism of action of estrogen on growth and differentiation in the chick oviduct. These involved the isolation of ovalbumin mRNA and the first demonstration of steroid hormone induction of a specific mRNA. He joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in 1973, and was a founder member of the first Department of Cell Biology in the USA. In 1987-88 he spent a sabbatical leave in the laboratories of Drs. George Stark and Ian Kerr at the Imperial Cancer Research Laboratories funded by an American Cancer Society Scholar Grant, where he participated in early studies to elucidate the mechanisms of interferon action that helped lead to the discovery of the Jak/Stat pathway. Dr. Rosen is currently a Distinguished Service Professor and the C.C. Bell Professor of Molecular & Cellular Biology and Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He is the recipient of a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health entitled, "Hormonal Regulation of Breast Cancer" currently in its thirty-fourth year of consecutive funding. Dr. Rosen has been the recipient of the Endocrine Society Edwin B. Astwood Award and the Michael E. DeBakey, Excellence in Research Award.

    Soonmyung Paik, M.D. is a pathologist with training in molecular biology of breast cancer. He graduated from College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea in 1981 and received his residency training in USA. After his residency under Dr. Edwin Fisher at the pathology headquarters of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), he joined Dr. Marc Lippman's group at the National Cancer Institute as a post-doctoral fellow. He followed Dr. Lippman to the Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University where he worked as a faculty member and director of tumor back core facility. He came back to the NSABP as the Director of the Division of Pathology in 1996. Since 2009 he has a joint appointment as the Distinguished Scientist in Medicine and the director of Samsung Cancer Research Institute, Seoul, South Korea.


    Geoffrey Greene, Ph.D. studies female steroid hormones and the molecular mechanisms by which they regulate development, differentiation and/or cellular proliferation and survival in hormone responsive tissues and cancers. Estrogens regulate the expression of diverse regulatory proteins and growth factors via one or both of two estrogen receptor subtypes. Projects in Greene's lab have direct relevance and application to breast and uterine cancer genesis, progression, treatment and prevention, as well as to the development of compounds that can be used for hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women.

    Benita Katzenellenbogen, Ph.D. is Swanlund Professor of Physiology, Cell and Structural Biology, and director of a breast cancer research group at the University of Illinois and University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. She is an internationally known endocrinologist and cancer researcher and has been a key scientist in understanding the biology of estrogen receptors and in elucidating mechanisms by which antiestrogens and SERMs, such as Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, are effective in controlling breast cancer. The work of her research group has most recently involved the development of selective hormonal agents for breast cancer treatment and prevention.

    Professor Ian Smith, M.D., F.R.C.P. is Professor of Cancer Medicine at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research, London. He is also Head of the Breast Unit. He trained in Edinburgh and at Harvard before coming to work at The Royal Marsden where he has spent many years specializing in the medical treatment of breast cancer. He sees patients mainly at the hospital's London site but also works at the Surrey site. His main interests are in the development of new treatments for breast cancer, particularly in its early stages, and he has pioneered the use of pre-operative medical treatment before surgery for large breast cancers.


    Richard D. Gelber, Ph.D., helped develop a statistical method that improves how patient care results from clinical trials are interpreted. This approach helps better compare clinical trial treatments in terms of both the quality and quantity of life provided patients. Dr. Gelber also has authored more than 270 peer-reviewed papers.

    Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, M.D., co-created the clinical trial statistical method advanced with Dr. Gelber, for a decade served as chairman of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research and currently is co-chairman of the Scientific Committee of the International Breast Cancer Study Group. He's also led an international collaborative group that conducts large-scale meta-analyses of breast cancer treatments and he has authored 548 peer-reviewed articles.

    Patricia S. Steeg, Ph.D., leads drug development efforts for the NCI as well as conducts research centering on the how tumors grow and spread on a molecular level, with particular attention paid to how breast cancer metastasizes to the brain. She is also the principal investigator for a Department of Defense breast cancer research effort comprised of researchers and clinicians. She has won the NCI's Outstanding Mentor Award in 2005 and Merit Awards in 1991, 2002, and 2004.


    Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., pioneered research on the link between physical activity and breast cancer, which is now well established. This research provides an evidence base for one of the few recommendations that can be made for breast cancer risk reduction. In addition to her studies on physical activity, she has contributed to the study of body size, including weight gain and obesity, another area of inquiry that has yielded insights into breast cancer risk reduction for post-menopausal women.

    Joe W. Gray, Ph.D., is recognized as a pioneer in the development of innovative technologies that enable researchers to pursue original avenues of inquiry into challenging biomedical problems.He is credited with the development and implementation of many important technologies, including high-speed sorting; flow karotyping; the first chromosome painting probes. His list of credits also includes analysis of cell cycle progression; comparative genomic hybridization; BAC End Sequencing; and more recently, nanotechnology.The sum of his impact, innovation and creativity are directly linked to translational research which has and will continue to lead to real improvements for people living with breast cancer.


    Evan Simpson Ph.D., is recognized as a world leader in the field of estrogen biosynthesis, with a particular focus on research into aromatase and breast cancer. His work has major significance for the future use of aromatase inhibitors over estrogen receptor antagonists for breast cancer treatment, and opens the possibility for the development of breast-specific inhibitors of aromatase expression, which would spare bone, brain and other sites where estrogen plays important roles.

    George W. Sledge Jr., M.D., specializes in the study and treatment of breast cancer and directed the first large, nationwide study on the use of Taxol (paclitaxel) to treat advanced breast cancer. Dr. Sledge's involvement in the design and implementation of pivotal trials has been critical in the development of adjuvant therapies to improve disease-free and overall survival for women with metastatic breast cancer.


    Trevor J. Powles, Ph.D., F.R.C.P., C.B.E., has specialized exclusively in the prevention, risk assessment, diagnosis and early treatment of breast cancer and is recognized as one of the first specialist breast medical oncologists in the world. His primary research focus is breast cancer prevention.

    Anita B. Roberts, Ph.D. (deceased), achieved international acclaim for her work in growth factor research, having discovered and characterized, together with Michael J. Sporn, M.D., the transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß), a messenger molecule integral to the activities of the cell cycle. Subsequently, Drs. Roberts and Sporn established roles for this protein in autoimmune diseases, fibrogenesis, carcinogenesis and wound healing. Their work together is now forming the basis of new therapeutic approaches.


    Daniel Medina, Ph.D., has focused his research on the study of premalignant disease of the breast, dissecting the essential biological and molecular alterations that underlie progression from normal mammary cells to premalignant behavior to invasive behavior.

    Larry Norton, M.D., is a medical oncologist with broad interests in cancer. His research concerns the basic biology of cancer, the mathematics of tumor causation and growth and the development of approaches to better diagnosis, prevention and drug treatment of the disease.


    Mina J. Bissell, Ph.D., is recognized for her study of the environment that surrounds breast cells and its corresponding relationship with breast cancer.

    Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., has focused on the development of methods to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases like breast cancer.


    Elwood V. Jensen, Ph.D., is recognized for his contributions both to the understanding of steroid hormone action and to the clinical management of breast cancer patients.

    Charles L. Loprinzi, M.D., has focused on some of the key concerns of breast cancer survivors, namely, symptom control, complementary and alternative medicine and communications issues.


    Jay R. Harris, M.D., is noted for his achievements in the area of clinical evaluation of breast cancer treatments, with particular emphasis on the optimal use of conservative surgery and radiation therapy for early breast cancer.

    Bert W. O'Malley, M.D., has gained recognition for his pivotal work on the molecular function of estrogen and other steroid hormone receptors.


    Angela Brodie, Ph.D., conducted pioneering work on the biochemistry and pharmacology of aromatase inhibitors.

    Dimitrios Trichopoulos is recognized for his work involving discoveries in the epidemiology and etiology of breast cancer.


    Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., is regarded as a leading authority on hormones and breast cancer.

    Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., discovered BRCA1 in 1990. She not only proved that a complex disease could follow a relatively simple path along the branch of a family tree, but she showed geneticists a new way to attack other diseases by combining the study of genetics with an understanding of family history, environmental factors and individual lifestyles.


    Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., is widely known for his pioneering work in yeast genetics. His insights provided the foundation for understanding how normal cells divide and the mechanisms leading to the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on October 8, 2001.

    Henry T. Lynch, M.D., is noted for his unparalleled contributions to the understanding of the genetic influences on breast cancer development.


    Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., is noted for his work in developmental therapeutics and for advances in the adjuvant treatment of advanced breast cancer.

    David Livingston, M.D., is an internationally recognized expert on genes that regulate cell growth in the body—genes that, when they go awry, can lead to cancer.


    Edison Liu, M.D., is a pioneer in using mutations in the cancerassociated ras gene to learn about different types of breast cancer.

    Umberto Veronesi, M.D., did seminal studies examining the need for breast irradiation after breast-conserving surgery as well as the type of irradiation shown to have the greatest therapeutic efficacy.


    C. Kent Osborne, M.D., has provided some of the initial basic information on the role of polypeptide growth factors and he was among the first to demonstrate that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates breast cancer cells.

    Helene S. Smith, Ph.D., (deceased), was one of the first researchers who cultivated breast epithelial and breast cancer cells in the laboratory. She identified a novel tumor suppressor gene in breast cancer known as brush-1.


    Marc Lippman, M.D., has been instrumental in delineating the roles of the epidermal growth factor family in breast cancer.

    Malcolm C. Pike, Ph.D., proposed how a hormonal contraceptive could be made that would provide significant lifelong protection against breast cancer.


    Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., is considered to be a leading authority on the molecular basis of cancer. In 1979, he discovered the p53 tumor suppressor protein, a molecule that inhibits tumor development.

    Richard J. Santen, M.D., is noted for his work on the mechanisms of responsiveness to hormonal therapy in women with breast cancer. He studied the expression of aromatase and the role of estrogen in breast cancer.


    Bernard Fisher, M.D., conducted pioneering research that demonstrated that lumpectomy was equivalent to mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer. He has also demonstrated that the use of systemic chemotherapy and hormonal therapy following surgery for breast cancer could lengthen the lives of thousands of women with breast cancer.

    V. Craig Jordan, O.B.E., Ph.D., D.Sc., made singular contributions in the development of tamoxifen as a clinical treatment for estrogen responsive breast cancers.