Public Release: 

Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., receives prestigious Medal of Honor from American Cancer Society

Renowned Cleveland Clinic cancer genetics researcher joins Joseph Biden, C. Everett Koop and George H.W. and Barbara Bush as recipients of organization's highest award

Cleveland Clinic


IMAGE: Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., of Cleveland Clinic receives American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor. view more 

Credit: Cleveland Clinic

October 17, 2018, Cleveland: Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Cleveland Clinic's Genomic Medicine Institute, is receiving the American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor, the organization's highest award. An internationally recognized physician-scientist in the cancer genetics field, Dr. Eng is among five honorees to receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 18.

The ACS Medal of Honor is presented to individuals who have made outstanding and valuable contributions in the field of cancer. This year's other recipients are The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr., Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., and Michael J. Thun, M.D. Past honorees include U.S. President and First Lady George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush; U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy; George Papanicolau, M.D., inventor of the Pap test; Judah Folkman, M.D., a leading researcher in the field of antiangiogenesis; and Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.

"Our Medal of Honor recipients embody what the American Cancer Society is all about," said Gary M. Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "We bestow this highest honor on these individuals for their significant contributions to the advancement and impact of our collective efforts to save more lives from cancer."

"Charis is a true pioneer in cancer genomics, especially integrating the study of genetics into clinical care," said Serpil Erzurum, M.D., chair of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. "As a physician-scientist for over 20 years, she has dedicated her career to patient-oriented research in genetics and genomic medicine. She also has an unparalleled passion for mentoring the next generation of physician-scientists, Ph.D.'s, clinical researchers and healthcare leaders."

Dr. Eng is being honored for clinical research - contributions, specifically in genomic medicine research, which have significantly improved the clinical outcome of patients. In her dual role as Founding Chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute and Founding Director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, she continues to implement evidence-based genetic- and genomics-enabled personalized healthcare that has enhanced care for patients at genetic risk of disease nationally and globally. "Through educating physicians and promoting genetic counseling and smart clinical management," said Dr. Eng, "we can improve early diagnosis and develop the most targeted cancer treatment possible for individual patients."

Her scientific and clinical accomplishments have had a broad and far-reaching impact in cancer genetics. She was the first to discover a link between mutations in the cancer suppressor gene PTEN and Cowden and other syndromes, which predispose patients to several types of cancer. Through her work, Dr. Eng is laying the groundwork for the next generation of cancer treatment by identifying and testing for genetic risk factors, aimed at speeding scientific findings into clinical settings.

Dr. Eng, who also holds the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis Endowed Chair in Cancer Genomic Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, has published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles and has been principal investigator on more than $50 million in lifetime research funding, comprising a diverse portfolio including federal grants, multi-investigator grants and consortia, foundation funding and philanthropy.

Dr. Eng has earned numerous honors, including the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award. She was named an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor in 2009. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine as well as the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians.

In addition to her leadership at Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Eng has served on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society.

Dr. Eng earned her M.D. and Ph.D. from University of Chicago and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She did her fellowship training in Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School and in Clinical Cancer Genetics at Addenbrooke's Hospital and Royal Marsden NHS Trust in the U.K. as well as postdoctoral training in Human Cancer Genomics at University of Cambridge.


About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. Among Cleveland Clinic's 52,000 employees are more than 3,600 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 14,000 nurses, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic's health system includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 11 regional hospitals, more than 150 northern Ohio outpatient locations - including 18 full-service family health centers and three health and wellness centers - and locations in Weston, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2017, there were 7.6 million outpatient visits, 229,000 hospital admissions and 207,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic's health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at News and resources available at

About the Lerner Research Institute

Lerner Research Institute is home to Cleveland Clinic's laboratory, translational and clinical research. Its mission is to promote human health by investigating in the laboratory and the clinic the causes of disease and discovering novel approaches to prevention and treatments; to train the next generation of biomedical researchers; and to foster productive collaborations with those providing clinical care. Lerner researchers publish more than 1,500 articles in peer-reviewed biomedical journals each year. Lerner's total annual research expenditure was $260 million in 2016 (with $140 million in competitive federal funding, placing Lerner in the top five research institutes in the nation in federal grant funding). Approximately 1,500 people (including approximately 200 principal investigators, 240 research fellows, and about 150 graduate students) in 12 departments work in research programs focusing on heart and vascular, cancer, brain, eye, metabolic, musculoskeletal, inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Lerner has more than 700,000 square feet of lab, office and scientific core services space. Lerner faculty oversee the curriculum and teach students enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University - training the next generation of physician-scientists. Institute faculty also participate in multiple doctoral programs, including the Molecular Medicine PhD Program, which integrates traditional graduate training with an emphasis on human diseases. Lerner is a significant source of commercial property, generating 64 invention disclosures, 15 licenses, 121 patents and one new spinoff company in 2016. Visit us at Follow us on Twitter at

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