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Sara A. Courtneidge awarded AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will award the 18th annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship to Sara A. Courtneidge, Ph.D., at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, to be held in Philadelphia, April 18-22.

She is being recognized for her seminal contributions to current understanding of Src-family kinases, which control essential signaling pathways necessary for normal physiology and cancer development, as well as her advocacy for women in science.

Courtneidge, a professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland and senior investigator for OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute, will deliver her lecture, “Cancer Cell Invasion and Metastasis,” Saturday, April 18, 5:30 p.m. ET, in Terrace Ballroom II/III of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship was established in 1998 in honor of renowned virologist Charlotte Friend, PhD, discoverer of the Friend virus, for her pioneering research on viruses, cell differentiation, and cancer. The lectureship recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to deliver a lecture that recognizes both my scientific achievements and the importance of leadership and mentorship,” Courtneidge said. “Throughout my career, I have seen the power of strong leadership in advancing discovery as well as the benefit of bringing multiple perspectives to our most challenging scientific questions. True success is most often achieved by those who help others leverage opportunities and generously share their knowledge to ensure progress.”

Courtneidge’s research has focused on the first oncogene to be discovered, Src, and how its dysregulation contributes to cancer. She is known for her research on oncologic transformation, including her discovery that the RSV v-Src transforming protein and its cellular counterpart, c-Src, are plasma membrane-associated, anchored to the membrane via an N-terminal myristoyl group.

She discovered that the middle T antigen of polyomavirus is associated with c-Src, a finding that revolutionized the DNA tumor virus field. Courtneidge also found that c-Src is activated by association with the PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase, and is required for mitogenic signaling in a pathway that leads to c-Myc.

Recently, Courtneidge identified the Tks4 and Tks5 adaptor proteins as Src substrates and showed that they function through Nox-mediated ROS generation at the surface of tumor cells where they trigger formation of invadopodia, which secrete proteases essential for tumor cell invasion through normal tissue.

Courtneidge has been an active AACR member, having served on the board of directors, the nominating committee, as program chair of the Annual Meeting 2003, and as a scientific editor of several journals. She is currently on the editorial board of Cancer Today, the AACR’s consumer-oriented publication. Courtneidge is also an adjunct professor at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and the University of California, San Diego. A native of the United Kingdom, Courtneidge graduated from the University of Leeds and received her doctorate from the National Institute for Medical Research in London. Prior to joining OHSU in 2014, Courtneidge was director of the tumor microenvironment and metastasis program and academic affairs at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute.

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