Awardees

Turkey, 2010: Eileen White

Starting with her initial discoveries that an adenovirus homolog of Bcl-2 rendered the virus oncogenic and her elaboration of the interactions of anti-tumor factors such as p53 and these pro-cancer-favoring genes, Eileen became among the first, and the most prolific, investigator of the role of metabolism in apoptosis and oncogenesis. Following this lead, she discovered that apoptosis-resistant tumor cells acquired their resistance by activating autophagy, and that autophagy could protect cells by eliminating damaged materials or organelles and providing nutrient or other resources to challenged cells.

 

She applies this understanding of autophagy and metabolism to argue that cells have many options to overcome challenge, and that therapies to protect cells (in neural disease) or destroy them (in cancer) must take into account these several options. Her success in raising and defending these ideas has led to her major role as a consultant to pharmaceutical industry and to numerous awards including a MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute, the Red Smith award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.