Janet Rowley, MD, honored by two national organizations

March 24, 2003

Janet Davison Rowley, MD, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, and of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, has been selected to receive the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the American Philosophical Society (APS) and the 6th Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

The Franklin Medal, created in 1906 by the United States Congress, is the APS's highest award for distinguished achievement in the sciences and in public service. Rowley was selected "in recognition of her discovery of chromosomal translocations associated with cancer and of the range of basic research and clinical applications her continuing work makes possible, from identifying the genetic alterations that cause cancer to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer; and in recognition also of her exemplary leadership and mentorship in the world of biomedical sciences."

The APS was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 for the purpose of "promoting useful knowledge." Current activities reflect the founder's spirit of inquiry by supporting research, discovery and education.

The Friend award and lectureship was established in 1998 in honor of renowned virologist and discoverer of the Friend virus, Dr. Charlotte Friend. It acknowledges an outstanding female or male scientist who has made meritorious contributions to cancer research and furthered the advancement of women in science.

The AACR is honoring Rowley for her "outstanding contributions both as a basic and translational scientist, and as a mentor for women scientists, many of whom have gone on to establish themselves as distinguished investigators in their own right."

"Her scientific accomplishments," according to the AACR, "have greatly enhanced our understanding of hematopoietic malignancies and laid much of the foundation for improved diagnosis and rational design of cancer-specific treatments. Over the years, Dr. Rowley has revolutionized our thinking about chromosomes and cancer by examining translocations in different types of leukemia."

Founded in 1907, the AACR is a professional society of more than 19,000 laboratory and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States and more than 60 other countries.

Rowley has collected many such honors, including the National Medal of Science, which is considered the nation's highest scientific honor, and the coveted Lasker Award, referred to as "America's Nobel."

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