The truly great physician is the one who meticulously searches, teaches, and heals. That ideal physician is the true Laureate of Medicine from whom we can learn, and whose presence will inspire us all.
—Simon M. Shubitz, MD
Since 1978, the Simon M. Shubitz Cancer Prize and Lectureship has recognized excellence in cancer research and brought to The University of Chicago internationally respected scientists who have made significant contributions to the study of cancer. The award is named in honor of Simon M. Shubitz, MD, a distinguished alumnus known for his dedication as a physician and his efforts as a humanitarian and philanthropist.
While originally presented biannually, the Comprehensive Cancer Center and The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation now present the award annually.
James R. Downing, MD, is president and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he serves as director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory and Donald Pinkel Chair of Childhood Cancer Treatment. He completed his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Michigan, and joined St. Jude after training in anatomic pathology at Washington University in St. Louis and completing a fellowship in hematopathology at the University of Florida.
He is a pioneer in defining the genomic landscape of childhood cancer, particularly leukemia. In 2010, he helped launched the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, a landmark effort to sequence the normal and cancer genomes of more than 800 young cancer patients with some of the least understood and most aggressive tumors.
His research has identified how specific gene mutations and chromosomal abnormalities contribute to the development of leukemia and has generated mouse models of leukemia that are used widely by the cancer research community to better understand the biology and test new therapies.
Among his numerous honors, Dr. Downing was a 2013 finalist for TIME’s list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People, and this year he was appointed as a member of Vice President Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.
2015 – Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Meyer Cancer Center, New York
2014 – Nancy Davidson, MD, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Center
2013 – Todd Golub, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass.
2012 – Joe Gray, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute, Portland
2011 – Charles L. Sawyers, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York
2010 – Irving L. Weissman, MD, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
2009 – Margaret R. Spitz, MD, MPH, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
2008 – Brian J. Druker, MD, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
2007 – Craig B. Thompson, MD, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
2006 – Tyler E. Jacks, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
2005 – Stephen B. Baylin, MD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
2004 – Ronald M. Evans, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, La Jolla, Calif.
2003 – Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS. University of California, San Francisco
2002 – John Mendelsohn, MD, The University of Texas, Houston
2001 – Peter A. Jones, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
2000 – Alexander Varshavsky, PhD, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
1999 – Mary Claire King, MD, University of Washington, Seattle
1998 – Albert de la Chapelle, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus
1997 – Stanley J. Korsmeyer, MD, Washington University, Saint Louis
1996 – Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
1995 – Arnold J. Levine, PhD, Princeton University, N.J.
1994 – Raymond L. White, PhD, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
1993 – Michael B. Sporn, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
1992 – Leland H. Hartwell, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle
1991 – Lance A. Liotta, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
1990 – Robert T. Schimke, MD, Stanford University, Calif.
1989 – Robert A. Weinberg, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
1988 – Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
1987 – Thomas A. Waldmann, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
1986 – Philip Leder, MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston
1985 – Robert C. Gallo, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
1984 – Harold E. Varmus, MD, University of California, San Francisco
1982 – Judah Folkman, MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston
1980 – Peter C. Nowell, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
1978 – Bruce N. Ames, PhD, University of California, Berkeley