SfRBM's Senior Awards Committee has announced that the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award is Daret St. Clair, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky.
Dr. St. Clair's career is marked by her seminal work on the role of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in cancer development and therapy. Her research has resolved long-debated questions about MnSOD expression in cancer and has demonstrated that the presence of MnSOD inversely regulates the induction and progression of cancer. Dr. St. Clair's investigations of the mechanisms mediating the unique role of MnSOD are fundamental contributions to the recognition that cancer cells are under higher oxidative stress than their normal cell counterparts. Her studies have elevated the redox biology field to its stature as an important component of cancer research.
A native of Thailand, Dr. St. Clair was educated at Mahidol University in Bangkok. She received her Ph.D. in 1984 under the direction of the late Dr. Larry Oberley, the founding director of the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program at The University of Iowa and the first recipient of the SfRBM Lifetime Achievement Award. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in 1987, Dr. St. Clair initiated her independent research at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, studying the mechanisms that control the expression of the primary superoxide removal enzyme in mitochondria, MnSOD. Appointed an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky in 1991, she was promoted to Professor with tenure in 1999. Since 2002, she has held the James Graham Brown Foundation Endowed Chair at the University of Kentucky, and in 2009, she was appointed Associate Director for Basic Research at the Markey Cancer Center (MCC) of the University of Kentucky. In 2017, Dr. St. Clair became the inaugural director of the UK Center for Excellence in Cancer and Metabolism. Her mandate is to promote research excellence, expand funding in cancer research, and to develop promising early-stage investigators with expertise in the area of redox metabolism and cancer.
Dr. St. Clair's current focus is on the long-term side effects of cancer treatment that not only significantly impair the quality of life of survivors but have serious implications for cancer recurrence and prohibitive long-term healthcare costs. Her aspiration is that the results from extensive proof-of-concept studies will galvanize further developments of novel redox-based therapeutic agents for clinical applications and will have a groundbreaking impact on future drug design and clinical practice.
Dr. St. Clair will give a featured lecture at SfRBM's 25th Annual Conference in Chicago on Friday, November 16, titled, "MnSOD at the Crossroads of Life and Death: We've Only Just Begun". She will also be presented with a medal, cash award, and an invitation to publish a review article in Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Click here to learn more about Dr. St. Clair and her work.
SfRBM congratulates Dr. St. Clair on this highly deserved honor.