Huntsman Cancer Institute
Mary Beckerle, CEO and director at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — Mary Beckerle, director and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, received a prestigious national award for her work in cancer genetics.

The National Cancer Institute presented Beckerle with the Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics on Wednesday in Maryland. She followed the presentation with a lecture on the work being done in her labs at the University of Utah.

"I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many talented graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and colleagues at Huntsman Cancer Institute, the University of Utah and around the world as we have worked to understand fundamental aspects of cell biology with the goal of improving cancer treatments," Beckerle said, adding that having their accomplishments recognized "is a tremendous honor."

Beckerle's research has discovered ways that cells respond to various signals in their environment that regulate growth and movement in tumor biology. Her lab is focused on further understanding such signals, specifically in rare bone cancers.

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Also a distinguished professor of biology and oncological sciences at the U., Beckerle holds the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair and has completed various prestigious fellowships and accolades throughout her education and career.

She is the 22nd scientist and researcher to earn the Knudson award.

Early in 2017, Beckerle was fired by University Health Care CEO Vivian Lee, who later resigned in the wake of upset colleagues, students and employees who supported Beckerle and did not condone the unexpected personnel action. Beckerle was quickly reinstated and a new memorandum of understanding was drawn up, better defining the relationship of responsibility between the two partnering entities.