Lee Ellis, MD
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has named Lee Ellis, MD, Professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, as the 2022 recipient of the AACR Daniel D. Von Hoff Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and Training in Cancer Research.
AACR established the Von Hoff Award to honor an individual who has contributed significantly to the education and training of cancer researchers and other professionals at all career levels. Daniel Von Hoff is known for conceptualizing the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop. The annual week-long workshop provides intensive mentoring to help oncology fellows and junior faculty develop effective clinical trial protocols. Dr. Ellis first participated in the workshop as a student, then as a faculty mentor and Co-Director.
Ongoing Impact in Research and Mentorship
Dr. Ellis is internationally recognized for his pioneering contributions to understanding cell signaling and angiogenesis in gastrointestinal malignancies, for leading a public dialogue on reproducibility of preclinical results, and for his work in setting standards for clinical trial endpoints. He conducted groundbreaking research on the biology of metastatic colorectal cancer and identified vascular endothelial growth factor as a valid therapeutic target that is now standard of care for patients with these malignancies. His laboratory also was the first to correctly hypothesize that mutated RAS could be a resistance marker for epidermal growth factor receptor–targeted therapies.
In addition to training and mentoring fellows, laboratory investigators, clinical investigators, and junior faculty at MD Anderson for 3 decades, Dr. Ellis has served on numerous national workshops and committees dedicated to clinical and translational cancer research training. His dedication to education and mentorship of early-career investigators includes 8 years as faculty on the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) Young Investigator Training Course and currently SWOG Vice Chair for Translational Research; 10 years as Co-Director of MD Anderson’s Surgical Oncology Training Program; and 11 years as principal investigator of the MD Anderson Surgical Oncology NIH-T32 training grant.