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Wicha awarded one of university’s highest honors

Date Visible: 
06/28/2018 - 3:00pm

ANN ARBOR, Michigan - Max S. Wicha, M.D., a physician-scientist recognized internationally as a leader in cancer stem cell research and immuno-oncology, has been selected as the 2019 Henry Russel Lecturer, considered the University of Michigan’s highest honor for senior faculty members.

Max S. Wicha, MD
Max S. Wicha, M.D.

Wicha is the Madeline and Sidney Forbes Professor of Oncology and director of the Forbes Institute for Cancer Discovery at the Rogel Cancer Center. He will deliver his lecture during the winter term of 2019.

Wicha was the cancer center’s founding director, serving for more than 25 years and overseeing its development into one of the top cancer research centers in the country.

The Henry Russel Lectureship is awarded annually to a faculty member with exceptional achievements in research, scholarship or creative endeavors, as well as an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring and service.

Wicha, among the most highly cited scientists in his field, joined the university in 1980 and has authored more than 200 publications in leading journals. He directs a research group that has made many seminal contributions in understanding the pathways that regulate breast cancer stem cells and the role of cytokines.

Wicha’s research helped identify cancer stem cells in human breast cancer, the first in any solid tumor, and developed the molecular markers and assays that are now widely used to isolate and characterize cancer stem cells. His recent research has been key to understanding the fundamental role that cancer stem cells play in tumor metastasis.

The co-founder of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Wicha collaborates with other biotechnology companies to develop and test cancer stem cell inhibitors. His accolades include the Stanford University J.E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine and the American Association for Cancer Research Komen Award.

A mentor of young scientists, Wicha has participated on many university committees, and has served as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes and as a member on the National Cancer Advisory Board.


Written by Safiya Merchant, The University Record