National Academy of Medicine Elects New Members

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The National Academy of Medicine recently announced the election of 100 members during its annual meeting, including 10 international members. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. Several individuals with research interests related to oncology are listed below. To view a list of all new members named to this year’s group of National Academy of Medicine members, visit

Newly elected members of the National Academy of Medicine with interests related to oncology and their election citations follow:

Daniel G. Anderson, PhD, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Koch Institute for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. For pioneering the area of non–viral gene therapy and cellular delivery. His work has resulted in fundamental scientific advances; more than 500 papers; patents and patent applications; and creation of companies, products, and technologies that are now in the clinic.

Bradley Bernstein, MD, PhD, Chair of Cancer Biology and Richard and Nancy Lubin Family Chair, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Professor, Departments of Cell Biology and Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston. For landmark contributions to our understanding of chromatin structure and function, including the establishment of principles of gene poising, repression and long-range regulation, and the identification of epigenetic mechanisms that underlie stem cell potency and tumorigenesis.

John D. Carpten, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, City of Hope, Duarte, Calif. For leading the genomics field in understanding how racial and ethnic backgrounds affect cancer predisposition. The first African American to chair the National Cancer Advisory Committee, Dr. Carpten is internationally recognized for research in functional genomics, health disparities, and precision medicine.

Timothy A. Chan, MD, PhD, Chair, Global Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology; Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Chair; and Professor of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. For playing a key role in establishing the relationship between the number of mutations in a patient’s tumor and the success of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr, MD, Head, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. For pioneering efforts to provide the first definitive examples of circulating tumor DNA being successfully used as a cancer biomarker for screening, monitoring, and detection of occult disease, as well as for discovery of the therapeutic link between immunotherapy and genetics in patients with Lynch syndrome and others with mismatch repair–deficient tumors.

Steven D. Leach, MD, Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology, Surgery, and Medicine; Preston T. and Virginia R. Kelsey Distinguished Chair in Cancer; and Director, Dartmouth Cancer Center, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Lebanon, New Hampshire. For being an international leader in pancreatic cancer research, having made seminal research contributions in pancreatic cancer surgery, biology, genomics, and therapy over the past 30 years.

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Immunology and Immunotherapy, and Director, Precision Immunology Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. For her groundbreaking discoveries in immunology, establishing for the first time that tissue-resident macrophages form an independent lineage that arises and is maintained independently of adult hematopoiesis and have unique functional attributes that promote tissue integrity and tissue repair, response to infection, and contribute to tumor outcome.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Columbia University of Medicine, New York. For contributing important research in the immunotherapy of myeloid malignancies, such as acute myeloid leukemia; establishing international centers for immunotherapy for childhood cancers; and the discovery of tissue-resident stem cells. His book, The Emperor of All Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize and was nominated by TIME as one of the century’s 100 most influential books.

Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, Professor of Surgery, Chief, Breast Surgery Section, and Executive Director and Founder, International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital Network, New York. For her efforts to address and eliminate breast cancer disparities across the world, and whose research on characterizing hereditary susceptibility for triple-negative breast cancer associated with African ancestry has earned worldwide acclaim.

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, Director, Abramson Cancer Center; John H. Glick Abramson Cancer Center Director’s Professor; Vice Dean, Cancer Programs, Perelman School of Medicine; and Vice President, Cancer Programs, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia. For developing immune combination therapies for patients with pancreatic cancer by driving proof of concept from lab to clinic, then leading national, randomized clinical trials for therapy, maintenance, and interception, as well as for improving access of minority individuals to clinical trials while directing an National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center.

Jennifer A. Wargo, MD, MMSc, R. Lee Clark Endowed Professor of Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine, and Founder and Director, Platform for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. For making fundamental and practice-changing contributions to our understanding of the response and resistance of melanoma to targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Dr. Wargo pioneered the role of the tumor and gut microbiome in tumor biology and therapeutic response and translated these paradigmatic discoveries into novel clinical trials.

Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, Director, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Weil Cornell Medicine, New York. For his commitment to understanding the role of the immune system in cancer therapy. He has led several practice-changing trials establishing the use of immune checkpoint blockade for melanoma and other cancers. Dr. Wolchok has also led impactful efforts defining the mechanistic basis for sensitivity to these therapies.

Yi Zhang, PhD, Fred S. Rosen Chair Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital; Professor, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; and Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Boston. For making fundamental contributions to the epigenetics field through systematic identification and characterization of chromatin-modifying enzymes, including EZH2, JmjC, and Tet. His proof-of-principle work on EZH2 inhibitors led to the founding of the biopharmaceutical company Epizyme and eventual making of tazemetostat, an EZH2 inhibitor approved for epithelioid sarcoma and follicular lymphoma.