Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog



6 CRI-Affiliated Scientists Elected to the National Academy of Medicine 

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), an organization that has worked on critical issues at the intersection of medicine, science, health, and policy since 1970, recently announced the election of 100 new members. CRI is proud to announce that five members of its scientific advisory council (SAC) and a William B. Coley Award recipient were included in the 100 selections. 

NAM selects new members by evaluating and recognizing their crucial contributions in the fields of medical science, healthcare, and public health. Upon election, members pledge to volunteer their efforts towards National Academies activities. NAM is at the forefront of the most rigorous scientific and healthcare policy development, forging a path for future initiatives in medical research and training. 

“It is a great honor to be selected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and we are pleased to have five members of our Scientific Advisory Council and another affiliated scientist honored with their membership,” said CRI CEO and Director of Scientific Affairs Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD. “Drs. Irvine, Merad, Springer, Vonderheide, Wargo, and Wolchok have been at the forefront of immunotherapy efforts against cancer. We are proud of the work that each of them has accomplished through tireless research, and they should feel proud as well.” 

Some of the Best Minds in Immunology 

Darrell Irvine, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 

Dr. Irvine is a member of CRI’s SAC and is an Underwood-Prescott Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was elected to NAM for his contributions towards developing novel methods for delivering cancer immunotherapy treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases, including cancer. 

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD (Mount Sinai) 

Dr. Merad is a member of CRI’s SAC and is the department chair and of immunology and immunotherapy at the Precision Immunology Institute (where she also serves as director) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. NAM elected Dr. Merad for her multiple groundbreaking immunological discoveries, including the relationship between tissue-resident macrophages and tissue integrity/repair, response to infection, and tumor outcomes. 

Timothy Springer, PhD (Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School) 

Dr. Springer received CRI’s prestigious William B. Coley Award in 1995 for illuminating research on adhesion molecules, including discovering several families of such molecules, leading to a better comprehension of biological cell processes that opened the doors to new therapeutic avenues. He is a senior investigator, a Latham Family Professor, and a professor of medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. NAM is honoring Dr. Springer with membership for his research on receptor-ligand interactions and transmembrane signal transmission related to immunology, hemostasis and human diseases. 

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil (University of Pennsylvania) 

Dr. Vonderheide is a member of CRI’s SAC, and is the director of the Abramson Cancer Center, vice dean of Cancer Programs at the Perelman School of Medicine, and vice president of Cancer Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. His admission into NAM honors his involvement in development of immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer patients and his leadership of national, randomized clinical trials – specifically pertaining to improving access to clinical trials for people from underrepresented communities. 

Jennifer Wargo, MD, MMSc (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center) 

CRI SAC member Dr. Wargo is the founder and director of the Platform for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research, and the R. Lee Clark Endowed Professor of Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. NAM is honoring her for monumental contributions to scientific understanding of melanoma’s response and resistance to targeted immunotherapy. Additionally, Dr. Wargo is a pioneer in tumor-related gut microbiome research, and her discoveries in this area have been translated into multiple novel clinical trials. 

Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD (Weill Cornell Medicine) 

Dr. Wolchok is the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, associate director of the CRI SAC, and CRI Clinical Accelerator Chair. Dr. Wolchok’s work in clinical trials to establish the use of immune checkpoint blockades for melanoma and other cancers helped earn him NAM membership. 

CRI is extremely proud of its SAC members and a William B. Coley Award recipient for being honored with NAM membership. This is a career achievement for scientists with already exemplary track records producing life-improving cancer immunotherapy research. These six scientists play a crucial role in CRI’s mission to create a world immune to cancer. 

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