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Ley to receive 2016 faculty achievement award

Washington University School of Medicine
Timothy Ley, MD Timothy Ley, MD

Timothy Ley, MD, an expert in cancer genomics and leukemia, will receive a 2016 Washington University in St. Louis faculty achievement award, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced.

A Siteman Cancer Center research member, Ley also is the Lewis T. and Rosalind B. Apple Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine and chief of the Section of Stem Cell Biology in the Division of Oncology. He will receive the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award.

Two other faculty member also will receive achievement awards: Deanna Barch, a leading researcher on the role of cognition, emotion and brain function in illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, and Irving Boime, a professor of developmental biology and of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine.

“These faculty achievement awards are intended to build bridges between the Danforth Campus and our School of Medicine Campus,” Wrighton said. “As distinguished scholars and as members of the Washington University faculty, professors Barch and Ley embody the ideals of individual and collaborative excellence. Their work has done much to strengthen interdisciplinary scholarship among our campuses. I am extremely pleased to recognize their achievements with these awards. These awards are very significant because faculty peers select the honorees from a group of nominees from the faculty.”

Ley, Barch and Boime will be recognized at an awards ceremony Oct. 14. Ley and Barch also will make presentations on their scholarly work at the ceremony.

Ley’s pioneering research in cancer genomics has laid the groundwork for precision medicine in cancer, which targets treatment to a patient based on the genetic makeup of a tumor and how it responds to therapy.

In 2008, he led a team of researchers at The McDonnell Genome Institute that decoded the entire genome of a cancer patient’s tumor. It was the first time scientists compared the DNA in a patient’s healthy and malignant cells to find genetic mutations that likely caused the disease.

Last year, President Barack Obama named Ley to the National Cancer Advisory Board, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the president on the nation’s cancer program and reviews proposals awarded by the NCI. His term lasts until 2020.

Ley also is associate director for cancer genomics at The McDonnell Genome Institute and a research member at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

He currently holds $1.7 million in annual grants from the NCI and has authored nearly 200 publications. Ley has served on the boards of many medical and research organizations, including the National Human Genome Research Institute Board of Scientific Counselors, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Board of Directors, and the councils of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Ley is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He also is a past president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and was chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Ley earned his bachelor’s degree from Drake University in 1974 and his medical degree from Washington University in 1978. He is board-certified in internal medicine and hematology. He joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of medicine after being a senior investigator for two years at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md.

He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Erasmus Hematology Prize from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands; NCI’s Alfred G. Knudson Award for Cancer Genetics, the American Society of Hematology’s E. Donnall Thomas Prize and its Mentor Award, and Washington University’s Second Century Award, which recognizes individuals whose long-term commitment and participation have enabled the School of Medicine to look to the future with strength and confidence.