ORLANDO, Fla. — Yosef Shiloh, Ph.D., a David and Inez Myers professor in cancer research in the department of human molecular genetics and biochemistry in the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, Israel, will receive the 51st Annual AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for his studies of the cellular DNA damage response and the rare genomic instability syndrome ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).
"Dr. Shiloh is an international leader in the study of A-T, and his identification and cloning of the A-T gene provided for the first time a definitive diagnosis for so many who had gone without one," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "This discovery, along with his subsequent work, has played a critical role in increasing our understanding of DNA damage response and repair, which has important implications for cancer and other diseases. Dr. Shiloh is a truly exceptional scientist and we congratulate him on receiving the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award."
Patients with A-T exhibit progressive neurodegeneration, immunodeficiency, striking cancer predisposition and chromosomal fragility. The disease is caused by a profound defect in a major mechanism that maintains genomic stability – the cellular response to DNA double strand breaks.
For over 30 years Shiloh has been investigating A-T and the defect in the DNA damage response that leads to this disease. He changed the field when his lab identified the A-T gene in 1995 and successfully cloned it, calling it ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM). The identification of the ATM gene revolutionized the field, opening many new avenues of inquiry and allowing research to race forward.
Since then, the Shiloh laboratory has expanded its studies to the mode of action of the ATM gene product – the ATM protein kinase – and the extensive signaling network that it activates in response to DNA damage. A leader in this field, Shiloh's work has made a major impact on the scientific understanding of the cellular response to genotoxic stress. This, in turn, has led to the discovery of many new genes and processes with critical roles in human biology and cancer.
Shiloh earned an undergraduate degree from The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in 1974, a Master of Science in human genetics from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1977 and his doctorate in human genetics from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1983.
From 1983 to 1985 he was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and The Children's Hospital of Boston. He joined Tel Aviv University in 1985 as a senior lecturer of human genetics and was an associate professor there from 1989 to 1995. He has been a professor of human genetics at Tel Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine since 1995 and served as chairman of the department of human genetics and molecular medicine from 2002 through 2005.
Shiloh is also research professor of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, and a member of the American Association of Cancer Research and numerous editorial boards and organizations, among them the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the American Society of Human Genetics, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the European Association of Cancer Research, and the Human Genome Organization. His work has earned him many awards and honors, including the American Cancer Society International Research Fellowship, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Prize in Biomedical Research, the Fogarty Scholarship at the National Institutes of Health and the EMET Prize in Life Sciences, awarded by The A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture and the Prime Minister of the State of Israel.
The American Association for Cancer Research and Eli Lilly and Company established the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award in 1961 to honor G.H.A. Clowes, a founding member of the AACR. This honor recognizes and individual with outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.
Shiloh's lecture, "Mining rare genetic disorders for new insights into human biology: lessons from ataxia-telangiectasia," will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Apr. 4 at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 in the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
Press registration for the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 is free to qualified journalists and public information officers: http://www.aacr.or/PressRegistration.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists, providing a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.