Dr. Eng Wins Professional Achievement Award from Alma Mater

Charis Eng, MD, PhD, founding chair, Genomic Medicine Institute, and founding director, Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, received the 2017 Professional Achievement Award from University of Chicago. This award honors distinguished alumni whose achievements have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the university and real benefit to their community. In the decades since she earned her bachelor's, medical and doctorate degrees from University of Chicago, Dr. Eng has certainly accomplished this, and has an impressive list of professional titles, awards and groundbreaking publications to prove it.

In the laboratory, Dr. Eng works to identify and characterize genes that cause susceptibility to inherited cancer syndromes in an effort to identify and develop novel targets for therapy and prevention. She is best known for identifying the gene PTEN's role in Cowden syndrome. She later went on to find a link between that same gene and a rare form of autism. Dr. Eng also discovered new links between specific genes and endometrial and thyroid cancers. Her body of work on PTEN and cancer predisposition has informed clinical practice guidelines since 1999, including those of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

More recently, Dr. Eng, together with collaborator Stephen Grobmyer, MD, showed for the first time that some breast cancer patients have a distinct "breast microbiome," a discovery that could pave the way for a completely new field of study in breast cancer.

Just as passionate about translating scientific discoveries into patient care as she is uncovering them in the lab, Dr. Eng is a practicing cancer geneticist and director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare at Cleveland Clinic. At the Center, genetic counselors and genetic physicians work with patients and their families to better understand their family health history, and how that history, coupled with genetic test results, can determine an individual's risk for disease. They also collaborate with a patient's primary care physician to determine which treatment options may work best. Dr. Eng says her goal is to capture every single patient at high genetic risk of all diseases and deliver care tailored just for them.

"I am both honored and humbled by this award," Dr. Eng said. "I owe a large part of my professional success to the great education and mentorship I received during my time at University of Chicago."

Dr. Eng is also an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor and holds the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis Endowed Chair of Cancer Genomic Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.