2017 Builders of Science Award recipient, Leland Hartwell, Ph.D.

Leland HartwellTom Hutton, Trustee and President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC, Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and the 2017 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science awardee, Leland Hartwell, Ph.D.

The Geoffrey Beene Foundation is the benefactor for the Builders of Science Award presented at Research!American in Washington DC. The award recognizes those who have provided leadership and determination in building an outstanding scientific research organization as well as those who have been at the forefront of scientific research.

Leland Hartwell, Ph.D., is the President and director emeritus, Fred Hutch, Seattle, a professor of genome sciences and adjunct professor of medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, as well as, American Cancer Society Research Professor of Genetics.

For most of Dr. Lee Hartwell’s career he studied genes that control cell division in yeast. Subsequently many of these same genes have been found to control cell division in humans and often to be the site of alteration in cancer. Hartwell also turned to yeast to investigate the basis for accurate cellular reproduction and discovered a new class of gene: the “checkpoint” gene. These genes notice when mistakes have been made during cellular reproduction and halt cell division so that repair can take place.

His insights into cell-cycle control are being used at the Hutch and elsewhere to develop treatments for cancer and other diseases. For example, in collaboration with Dr. Steve Friend, Hartwell explored the potential to identify cancer therapeutics using a panel of yeast mutants defective in DNA repair. And together with Dr. Lee Hood the two founded a company, Rosetta Informatics, to use transcript profiles and yeast mutants to identify new therapeutic targets.

Recently his interests have turned to how we can use the enormous knowledge that has accumulated over the last 50 years in genetics and biochemistry to benefit cancer patients. He believes that the most efficient path is to improve molecular diagnostics to identify individuals at high risk for disease, detect cancer and other diseases at an early stage when they can be cured, provide prognostic information and monitor therapeutic response. Proteins will likely provide the best diagnostic information because of their greater diversity and because their state reflects biological function. The technology for protein diagnostics, however, is in its infancy. Hartwell’s efforts are now directed toward improving the field of protein diagnostics.

He is involved in national and international projects to increase the number of laboratories working in protein diagnostics, develop more team science, improve the availability of informatics for data sharing, provide standardized reagents and stimulate new technology development. Together with Dr. Michael Birt of the National Bureau for Asian Research he was a key organizer of the first international Pacific Health Summit, held in Seattle in June 2005, which brought together the best minds in science, policy, medical practice, research and public health from around the Pacific Rim.

In 1961 he earned a B.S. at the California Institute of Technology and in 1964 earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Dr. Boris Magasanik. He engaged in postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies from 1964 through 1965 with Dr. Renato Dulbecco. He joined the University of Washington faculty in 1968 and has been a genetics professor there since 1973.

In 1996 he joined the faculty of Seattle’s Fred Hutch and in 1997 became its president and director. Hartwell is the recipient of many national and international scientific awards, including the 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Other honors include the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Gairdner Foundation International Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Award in cancer research. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mara Hutton, EVP of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation introduces and awards Dr. Leland Hartwell with the 2017 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

Leland Hartwell, Ph.D.’s acceptance speech

2016 Builder of Science Award, John H. Noseworthy, M.D., President and Chief Executive Office, Mayo Clinic

Mara Hutton and Van AndelMara Hutton, Executive Vice President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation, accepting the award on behalf of John Noseworthy, M.D., Ronald C. Petersen, Ph.D., M.D., Consultant, Department of Neurology, and Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Tom Hutton, Trustee & President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC,

Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation presenting the 2016 Builders of Science Award to John Noseworhty MD

Ronald C. Petersen, Ph.D., M.D., Consultant, Department of Neurology, and Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic accepting the award on behalf of John Noseworthy, M.D.,

2015 Recipients, David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude

Mara Hutton and Van AndelTom Hutton, Trustee & President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC, Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation, George Vande Woude Ph.D. and David Van Andel.

Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation introduces the 2015 Geoffrey Beene Builder of Science Award winners, George Vande Woude. Ph.D. and David Van Andel.

David Van Andel accepts the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

Dr. George Van Woude accepts the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude, receive the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award. Van Andel is Chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Van Andel Institute has become a major contributor to science with the recruitment of top scientists and funding support. Work at the Institute encompasses basic as well as translational research, fueling developments in treatments for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s. Dr. Vande Woude is among the pioneers who laid the foundation for our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer. As the director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Basic Research Program in Frederick, Maryland, he recruited world class researchers and implemented a vital research review process. In 1999, he was selected to be the first director of the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) where, in concert with David Van Andel, he built an exceptional cancer research program from the ground up.

2014 Recipient, Leroy Hood, M.D.

Hood3Tom Hutton, Trustee & President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC, Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President Geoffrey Beene Foundation with Dr. Leroy Hood recipient of the 2014 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award

Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation, presents and Leroy Hood MD accepts the 2014 Geoffrey Beene Builder of Science Award.

Dr. Hood is a pioneer in the systems approach to biology and medicine. His research has focused on the study of molecular immunology, biotechnology and genomics. Dr. Hood’s professional career began at Caltech, where he and his colleagues developed the DNA gene sequencer and synthesizer and the protein synthesizer and sequencer–four instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping of the human genome. A pillar in the biotechnology field, Dr. Hood has played a role in founding more than fourteen biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Darwin, The Accelerator and Integrated Diagnostics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Of the 6,000+ scientists world-wide who belong to one or more of these academies, Dr. Hood is one of only fifteen people accepted to all three. He is also a member of the American Philosophical Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been widely published, and he has coauthored numerous textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics, as well as a popular book on the human genome project, The Code of Codes. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lasker Award for Studies of Immune Diversity, the Kyoto Prize in advanced technology, the Heinz Award for pioneering work in Systems Biology, and most recently, the coveted NAE 2011 Fritz J. and Delores H. Russ Prize for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine and forensic science. He received the 2011 National Medal of Science (awarded in 2012), the highest honor the President of the United States can award a citizen. In addition to having received 17 honorary degrees from prestigious universities in the US and abroad, Dr. Hood has published more than 700 peer reviewed articles and currently holds 36 patents. For further information on Dr. Hood http://www.systemsbiology.org/leroy-hood

2013 Recipient, John Mendelsohn, MD

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John Mendelsohn, MD, recipient of Research!America’s 2013 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award, Mar Hutton, Executive Vice President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and Tom Hutton, Trustee & President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC.

The 2013 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award honoree, John Mendelsohn, MD, Director of the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and past President of MD Anderson Cancer Center at The University of Texas (1996 -2011) made research a priority. Under his leadership, he more than doubled its size and implemented new priorities for integrated programs in patient care, research, education and cancer preventions as well as, substantial increases in facilities and philanthropy.

Dr. Mendelsohn contributed so much to science breakthroughs before he arrived at MD Anderson. He spent 15 years at the University of California, San Diego, where he founded and directed a National Cancer Institute – designated cancer center and under his leadership he and his collaborators including Dr. Gordon Sato, pioneered the concept of cancer therapy targeting the products of genes that cause cancer. Their report published in the 1980’s on an oncogene product was novel because they were the first to report an inhibitor of an oncogene product that was a tyrosine kinase.

His continued research in the laboratory and clinic led to the universally adopted concept of anti-receptor therapy that targets key cell signaling pathways as a new form of cancer treatment and to the discovery and development of Cetuximab, commercially known as Erbitux. Erbitux was approved by the FDA for treatment of colon cancer in 2004 and for head and neck cancer in 2006.

Previous honorees include, Donald Lindberg, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine; Nobel laureate David Baltimore, PhD; inventor and physicist Dean Kamen; Richard A. Lerner, MD, president of The Scripps Research Institute; Robert Mahley, MD, PhD, president emeritus of The J. David Gladstone Institutes; and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

2012 Recipient, Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD

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Tom Hutton, Trustee & President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation and CEO & President, Geoffrey Beene, LLC., Mara Hutton, Executive Vice President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation with Donald Linderberg, recipient of Research!America’s 2012 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award,

Donald A. B. Lindberg, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine, was honored with the 2012 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award for building innovative private-sector research models. In presenting the award, Mara Hutton of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation noted Lindberg’s leadership at the forefront of health and computers and his effort to make information resources available to all through the World Wide Web, especially those in rural, remote, minority and underserved communities.

“I do take great pleasure in the moment in which we pay some attention to studies of information per se that [are] the basis of the practice of medicine, basis of learning, basis of remembering. It’s worthwhile to invest in research in those areas because they benefit all of us,” Lindberg said. “And I think the focus that this organization has on continuing-that is to say, long-term-basic research support is tremendously important. Nothing could be better for the country, and I think for probably for the world as well.”

Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and former director of the White House High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program was honored for pioneering the application of computer technology to medicine which has revolutionized healthcare.