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Four Siteman Cancer Center members named 2017 AAAS fellows

Washington University School of Medicine

Four Washington University School of Medicine faculty members at Siteman Cancer Center have been selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

They will receive the highest honor awarded by AAAS in recognition of their distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. The four are:

  • Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Siteman’s director and the Bixby Professor of Surgery and head of the Department of Surgery.
  • Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH, Siteman’s associate director of prevention and control and the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences.
  • John A. Cooper, MD, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.
  • Michael L. Gross, PhD, professor of immunology and pathology and of medicine. He also is a professor of chemistry at the School of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis

Three other School of Medicine faculty members also were named AAAS fellows this year: Michael G. Caparon Jr., professor of molecular microbiology; Michael S. Diamond, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine; and Susan K. Dutcher, professor of genetics and the interim director of the McDonnell Genome Institute at the School of Medicine.

In all, 396 new fellows were selected this year. They will be formally announced in the Nov. 24 issue of Science and honored Feb. 17 during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Timothy J. Eberlein

Timothy Eberlein, MD
Timothy J. Eberlein, MD

Eberlein, who also is surgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, is being honored for pioneering work as an innovative, national leader in surgery education, research and publishing, and in development of cancer center networks, research programs and clinical protocols.

He has a strong record in research, having received numerous grants and awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Cancer Society and other organizations. His research has focused on studies of tumor immunology and various immune and vaccine therapies. Eberlein is also a committed teacher and has directed courses for the American College of Surgeons on grant writing as well as the conduct of clinical trials. His bibliography includes more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, with a focus on tumor immunology, molecular biology and breast cancer.

Eberlein graduated summa cum laude with a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and later earned his medical degree, also from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his surgical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and research and clinical fellowships at the National Cancer Institute.

Eberlein is active in the American College of Surgeons, American Board of Surgery and National Cancer Institute. He is a past president of the Society of Surgical Oncology, Society of Surgical Chairs, American Surgical Association and Southern Surgical Association. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine; and an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow, the Swiss Surgical Society and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; and an honorary member of the French Academy of Surgery in Paris.


Graham A. Colditz

Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH

Colditz, who also is deputy director of the university’s Institute for Public Health, is being honored for distinguished contributions to cancer epidemiology and prevention, particularly through his translation of research to advance the popular understanding of strategies to reduce cancer risk.

As an epidemiologist and public health expert, Colditz has a longstanding interest in the preventable causes of cancer and other chronic diseases, particularly among women, and translating that research into guidelines and policies aimed at promoting healthier lives. His work has focused on establishing connections between numerous lifestyle factors, such as smoking, physical activity, diet and weight gain, and the risk of cancer and other diseases. He also has documented a link between smoking and risk of stroke and mortality among women, and between weight gain and risk of diabetes and certain cancers.

Colditz earned his doctorate in public health at Harvard University and his medical degree at the University of Queensland. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

His past honors include the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research; the American Society of Clinical Oncology-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture; and the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor. He joined the Washington University faculty in 2006.


John A. Cooper

John A. Cooper, MD, PhD
John A. Cooper, MD, PhD

Cooper is being honored for distinguished contributions to the field of cell motility and the cytoskeleton, particularly for actin assembly and function.

The cellular skeletal system of filaments and motors provides the machinery for cells to change shape, divide and move. This movement is important in understanding disease, especially in understanding how tumor cells spread to other parts of the body and how the body’s immune cells seek and destroy invaders.

He received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Graduate Student Teaching from the School of Medicine in 2010, and he has served on the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council and represented the committee to the Faculty Senate.

Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Brown University. He then earned a medical degree and a doctorate in cell biology from Johns Hopkins University. Cooper came to Washington University in 1984 as a resident in anatomic pathology. He trained as a postdoc in the Department of Biochemistry and then joined the faculty in Cell Biology and Physiology. He was a Lucille P. Markey Scholar and an established investigator of the American Heart Association.


Michael L. Gross

Michael L. Gross, PhD
Michael L. Gross, PhD

Gross is being recognized for distinguished contributions to physical-organic, analytical, environmental and biophysical chemistry by developing and applying mass-spectrometry methods.

Gross’ current research focuses mainly on the development of mass spectrometry in biophysics, specifically to probe protein-ligand interaction interfaces, affinities and folding/unfolding. The work includes both instrument and method development and application to important proteins and protein complexes.

Gross, who has worked in mass spectrometry for nearly 50 years, is considered one of the most productive and highly cited mass spectrometrists in history.

He began his career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was distinguished professor of chemistry and director of a National Science Foundation Center for Mass Spectrometry.

In 1994, he joined the faculty at Washington University, where he is director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mass Spectrometry Research Resource.

He has written more than 600 publications in mass spectrometry and received numerous awards, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Field and Franklin medal for excellence in mass spectrometry in 1999, the ACS Midwest Award in 2002, the J.J. Thomson Medal in 2006, and, most recently, the 2018 ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry. He was founding editor-in-chief for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry from 1990-2015.

Gross graduated cum laude with a degree in chemistry from St. John’s University and later earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota. He completed one year of postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania and another year at Purdue University.