May 2009

Institute Genomicist Receives Prestigious ACS Honor

Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute, has been named an American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Cancer Research, receiving the society's highest award.

Dr. Eng, holder of the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis Chair of Cancer Genomic Medicine, was recognized for her contributions to science and patient care. This prestigious award, given to only two or three people annually, also supports the society's work in mentoring future generations of researchers.

The five-year, $400,000 grant will support Dr. Eng's work in the genetics of hamartoma-tumor syndromes and genomics-based cancer risk assessment in patient care. Hamartoma-tumor syndromes are related to Cowden syndrome, an under-diagnosed heritable disorder associated with an increased risk of developing breast, thyroid and uterus cancer and colorectal polyps, among other conditions. Dr. Eng is a pioneer in researching the disease, and in 1997 was the first to discover that certain mutations in the PTEN gene determined susceptibility to Cowden syndrome.

“I am deeply honored by the receipt of this Professorship. This is really recognition for my team and my many mentees, past and present,” she said.

Dr. Eng gave special acknowledgement to Ying Ni, Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellow; Kristi Bennett, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; Brandie Heald Leach, MS, CGC, genetic counselor; Mohammed Orloff, PhD, Project Scientist; and Donna Hansel, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathobiology, for presenting at the ACS Site Visit, which is part of the review process that culminated with the conferment of the ACS Professorship.