Douglas Hanahan elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society

Douglas Hanahan. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

Douglas Hanahan. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

EPFL Professor Douglas Hanahan has been elected among eighty researchers as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in the UK.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

Each year, the Society elects up to 52 Fellows (UK and Commonwealth) and up to 10 Foreign Members from a group of around 800 candidates proposed by the existing Fellowship. Fellows and Foreign Members are elected for life through a peer-review process on the basis of excellence in science. The Society currently numbers approximately 1,700 Fellows and Foreign Members, including around 85 Nobel Laureates.

This year, the Royal Society has elected 59 Fellows, 19 Foreign Members and two Honorary Fellows. Among the new Foreign Members is Professor Douglas Hanahan, director emeritus of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) at EPFL’s School of Life Sciences. A co-author of the seminal 2000 paper “The Hallmarks of Cancer”, he is currently a member of the Lausanne branch of the Ludwig Institute.

Professor Hanahan’s research career has spanned over three decades, centered upon the use of genetically engineered mouse models of multistep de novo tumor development, growth, and malignant progression to chart pathways of tumorigenesis, and understand the deterministic rate-limiting steps – and their mechanistic underpinnings – that define pathways to cancer.

His research also focuses on ‘immuno-oncology’, and in particular mechanisms and therapeutic abrogation of barriers erected in the tumor microenvironment that block efficacious T-cell immunotherapy of solid tumors (cervical cancer and melanoma), and manipulation of cellular recycling (autophagy) to disrupt growth and progression of glioma brain tumors.

Reacting to his election as Foreign Member of the Royal Society, Professor Hanahan said: “I am pleasantly surprised and deeply honored, given the high bar and lengthy roster of exceptional candidates for election”.

In electing its eighty new members, the Royal Society describes them as “outstanding researchers, innovators and communicators from around the world” who were chosen “for their substantial contribution to the advancement of science.” The Fellows and Foreign Members join the ranks of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Lise Meitner, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, and Dorothy Hodgkin.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “I am delighted to welcome our newest cohort of Fellows. These individuals have pushed forward the boundaries of their respective fields and had a beneficial influence on the world beyond.”