Dr. Mary-Claire King

Dr. Mary-Claire King will receive the 2018 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for her pioneering work in breast cancer genetics. 

Established in 2002 by Sir Run Run Shaw, the annual Shaw Prizes are awarded for breakthroughs by scientists in the fields of mathematics, astronomy and life sciences.

Shaw was a leader in the Asian television and film industry. Throughout his lifetime he provided philanthropic support to colleges, hospitals, science, the arts and many other charities.

The awards were created to recognize individuals, regardless of race, nationality, gender and religious belief, who have achieved a significant breakthrough in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on humanity.

About Mary-Claire King

Dr. King grew up in Chicago. She received her BA cum laude in Mathematics from Carleton College in Minnesota, her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California at Berkeley, and her postdoctoral training at UC San Francisco. She was a professor at UC Berkeley from 1976-1995 and has been American Cancer Society Professor of Medical Genetics and of Genome Sciences at UW since 1995. 

King’s 2018 Shaw Prize recognizes her achievement in using mathematical modeling and other analyses to demonstrate in 1990 that a single gene on chromosome 17 played a role in many breast and ovarian cancers. This “breast cancer gene” was later called BRCA1. Its discovery changed the way medical scientists viewed the possible genetic contributions to common, complex diseases. Earlier, many medical scientists had disregarded her efforts to try to find such connections. 

After her remarkable discoveries, the techniques King developed for mapping BRCA1 were adopted by many scientists to study numerous other disorders.  

The Shaw Prizes will be presented at a Sept. 16 ceremony in China. The prize carries a monetary award of $1.2 million.

Source: UW Medicine Newsroom