The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Cancer Society will recognize Curtis C. Harris, M.D., with the 23rd Annual AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.
Harris is head of the molecular genetics and carcinogenesis section of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md. He will present his lecture, "Integration of Molecular Epidemiology and Biomarkers in Precision Cancer Medicine," Tuesday, April 8, 3 p.m. PT, in Ballroom 20 A-C in the San Diego Convention Center.
The AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention was established in 1992 to honor outstanding research accomplishments in the fields of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention.
Harris is being recognized for his landmark scientific contributions to the fields of integrative and molecular epidemiology of human cancer and cancer biomarkers. He is particularly renowned for his pioneering studies of gene-environment interactions. For example, his laboratory was one of the first to document the link between the environmental carcinogen aflatoxin B1 and a specific mutation in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma from Qidong, China. They also discovered that secondhand smoke exposure during childhood is associated with increased lung cancer risk among never smokers, particularly those carrying a certain genetic variation in their MBL2 gene. His research on environmental carcinogenesis, cancer risk factors, and the molecular genetics of human carcinogenesis, has significantly impacted the field of cancer risk assessment and our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of human cancer.
"The support that AACR and ACS provide to advance NCI's mission of scientific research and discovery has been wonderful. On the behalf of my postdoctoral fellows and our national and international collaborators, I am honored to receive this award," Curtis said.
An active AACR member, Harris is a member of the Cancer Prevention Research editorial board and has served as an associate editor of Cancer Research and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. He has also served on the AACR Board of Directors and on several committees, including as chair of the Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship Selection Committee, an award he received in 2009.
Harris' accolades include the Distinguished Service Medal, which is the highest honor of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Alton Ochsner Award relating to smoking and health from the American College of Physicians, two outstanding mentor awards from the NCI, and an honorary doctorate from Nippon University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Carcinogenesis.
Harris received his medical degree from Kansas University School of Medicine in Kansas City, and completed his clinical training in internal medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the NCI.