During the Opening Plenary Session of the 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer, four leaders in the field of thoracic oncology were celebrated for their contributions. These annual awards not only honor the recipients for their lifelong achievements and dedication to the profession; they also pays tribute to the lung cancer legends for which the awards are named.
The Adi F. Gazdar IASLC Merit Award recognizes and honors Dr. Gazdar’s lifelong dedication to lung cancer research through his pioneering work in molecular pathology. The Mary J. Matthews Pathology/Translational Research Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement in pathology and translational research of thoracic malignancies. The Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement in the prevention of thoracic malignancies. And the Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award—named for the longtime executive director of IASLC—recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement of scientific contributions to thoracic cancer research.
The 2023 Distinguished Service Award Winners
Adi F. Gazdar IASLC Merit Award
Myung-Ju Ahn, MD, PhD
Dr. Ahn is professor of Hemato-Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul. She is a member of numerous research associations and societies, including the ISLAC and is currently chief of the Executive Committee and chair of Lung Cancer Disease Committee of the Korean Cancer Study Group (KCSG). She is president of the Korean Society of Medical Oncology (KSMO) and serves on the boards of the Korean Cancer Association and Korean Association for Lung Cancer.
Dr. Ahn has authored more than 250 research publications and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Thoracic Oncology. Her research interests include the development of predictive and prognostic markers for personalized lung cancer therapy. She has recently focused on early clinical trials for the development of drug discovery, repositioning of targeted drugs, and the development of a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) genome atlas.
Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award
William K. Evans, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Evans developed an interest in thoracic oncology early career in his career while working at Toronto General Hospital. He participated in the adjuvant clinical trials of the North American Lung Cancer Study Group in National Institutes of Health-funded studies of nutritional support in lung cancer as well as in numerous trials of systemic therapy for NSCLC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Dr. Evans initiated the first trials of etoposide-cisplatin in SCLC and made the first presentation on this regimen at WCLC. In 2010, Dr. Evans promoted the need for smoking cessation programs in regional cancer centers to improve the clinical outcomes of cancer patients. He led the Cancer Care Ontario Steering Committee to create a framework for implementation of smoking cessation programs within the 14 regional cancer centers in Ontario. Now, more than 90% of the centers have smoking cessation programs. Dr. Evans has more than 300 peer-reviewed publications to his name, with 20 focused on screening and aspects of smoking cessation since 2014.
Mary J. Matthews Pathology/Translational Research Award
Fernando Lopez-Rios, MD, PhD
Dr. Lopez-Rios recently joined the Department of Pathology at “12 de Octubre” University Hospital, Madrid, as chief of the Molecular Diagnostics Service. Dr Lopez-Rios has also been the director of the Therapeutic Targets Laboratory at HM Hospitales and a visiting researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. His main clinical and research expertise is in cancer biomarker testing, with a special interest in lung cancer and mesothelioma. Dr. Lopez-Rios also serves on the IASLC Pathology Committee.
Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award
Suresh Ramalingam, MD
Dr. Ramalingam is the executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He also serves as professor and the Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Cancer Research at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Ramalingam’s research is focused on the development of novel treatment approaches for patients with lung cancer. Specifically, his group has developed novel treatment options for lung cancer patients harboring an EGFR mutation, resulting in FDA approval of third generation inhibitors for metastatic NSCLC.
Dr. Ramalingam also leads clinical and translational investigations of novel immunotherapy approaches for the treatment of lung cancer. He has published more than 400 peer reviewed publications, with more than 36,000 citations and a H-index of 80. His research has been published in leading journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Science, Nature, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. He serves as the principal investigator for the Emory University Lung Cancer SPORE award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He is the editor-in-chief of Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Ramalingam served on the IASLC board of directors from 2017-2021 and as a member of the NCI Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee from 2012-2021.