David E. Fisher, MD, PhD is the recipient of the sixth Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Since 1993, the award has been presented annually to one nontenured scientist, at the assistant professor level, who is involved in basic or clinical research on the causes, prevention, or treatment of cancer.
Dr. Fisher was selected as the 1998 recipient of the Elion Award on the basis of his research proposal entitled, Microphthalmia and p16: Critical Regulators of Melanocyte Growth and Survival. This proposal aims to: (1) explore the mechanisms by which the cell cycle in melanoma cells modulates microphthalmia (Mi) activity; and (2) identify Mi target genes and thereby determine when Mi is involved in cell differentiation and when it regulates proliferation or survival. To the extent that Mi is involved in cell survival, it could prove to be an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.
Dr. Fisher has already attained an international reputation for his work in two important areas of cancer research: the molecular events regulating apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and the activity of Mi, which has a major role in the production of skin pigmentation. He is currently assistant professor at the Childrens Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Fisher earned his doctorate in immunology and cell biology at Rockefeller University and his medical degree at Cornell Medical College. He completed clinical training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Childrens Hospital. He then performed research as a postdoctoral fellow with Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, phd, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Fisher has an extensive record of publications on molecular biology and genetics, particularly with regard to cell growth and differentiation.