Prominent National Organization Honors Prolific Ohio State Scientist Physician

November 08, 2016
Maura Gillison MD PhD

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dr. Maura Gillison, a physician-researcher who has made significant contributions to the fields of cancer biology, therapy and epidemiology, has received one of the country’s highest and most prestigious honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Gillison, the Jeg Coughlin Chair in Cancer Research, professor in the division of medical oncology and member of the cancer control program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) during the association’s recent annual meeting. 

“The importance of Dr. Gillison’s discoveries has been internationally recognized, and her work has impacted and/or saved the lives of thousands of patients,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Her election to this esteemed position is well deserved.”

Gillison has made fundamental contributions to understanding the pathogenesis of cancer of the head and neck and discovered that the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) produces head and neck cancer in a subset of younger patients. This revelation led to the creation of strategies to protect these individuals from developing cancer associated with this virus, many of which were developed by Gillison. She also provides considerable assistance to the treatment of these patients.

Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of the OSUCCC and CEO of The James, said Gillison is a brilliant researcher.

“Her findings have revolutionized the fields of head and neck cancer therapy and the epidemiology of HPV infection and associated diseases,” said Caligiuri, who helped recruit Gillison to Ohio State in 2009.

Gillison received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins, followed by internal medicine and oncology training at Johns Hopkins and Massachusetts General Hospital. She also received a PhD in epidemiology from Hopkins.

Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, NAM addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy, and inspires positive actions across sectors. Gillison is one of 70 newly-elected regular members and nine newly-elected international members, who were chosen based on demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

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