MD Anderson’s Guillermina Lozano elected to Fellows of the AACR Academy

Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, Ph.D., chair of Genetics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been elected to the 2021 class of Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy in recognition of her pioneering work to describe the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, which is undermined in many cancers.

The mission of the AACR Academy is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. This year’s class of 25 inductees joins 231 existing fellows in working collectively to advance the mission of the AACR.

With the addition of Lozano, MD Anderson is represented by 10 Fellows of the AACR Academy. Current members include James P. Allison, Ph.D., Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D., and Louise C. Strong, M.D. Former members, now deceased, include Isaiah J. Fidler, D.V.M., Ph.D., Emil J Freireich, M.D., Waun Ki Hong, M.D., and John Mendelsohn, M.D.

“We are excited to see Gigi honored for her enduring contributions to genetics and cancer research, which have paved the way for so many meaningful discoveries,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “With this honor, she joins a truly stellar group of scientists in the AACR, and we could not be prouder.”

Lozano was the first to establish p53 as a transcriptional activator of other genes. She showed that common p53 mutants fail to launch transcription and also discovered the physiological importance of Mdm2 and Mdm4 in inhibiting p53 activity in development and cancer.

“Gigi’s contributions to our understanding of cancer biology cannot be overstated, and we count ourselves fortunate to have her as part of our MD Anderson family,” said Giulio F. Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer. “Her work highlights the importance of pursuing fundamental research questions that can lead us toward future breakthroughs in our mission to end cancer.”

Lozano received her Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in biology and mathematics from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University before joining MD Anderson in 1987, where she has remained, rising in rank to professor and chair in Genetics.

Lozano is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her many honors include the Hubert L. Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Oncology in Honor of Sue Gribble Stringer in 2018 from MD Anderson, and the AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship. In April 2018, she was awarded the President’s Leadership Award for Advancing Women and Minority Faculty at MD Anderson. She also has received distinguished alumni awards from both her undergraduate and graduate alma maters.