MD Anderson genetics expert Guillermina Lozano elected to National Academy of Sciences

Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., chair of Genetics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Lozano is a pioneer in describing the p53 pathway, a recognized tumor suppressor gene associated with cancer.

Lozano was one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recognized by NAS for their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” NAS is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research that was established in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Among NAS’s most famous members were Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell.

Lozano is the sixth scientist from MD Anderson to be named to the NAS along with James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology; Craig V. Jordan, Ph.D., professor of Breast Medical Oncology;  Ronald DePinho, M.D., professor of Cancer Biology; and Nancy Jenkins, Ph.D. and Neal Copeland, Ph.D., both professors of Genetics.

“This is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a scientist,” said Marshall Hicks, M.D., president ad interim of MD Anderson. “Dr. Lozano’s well-deserved election to the Academy speaks to her significant contributions to our understanding of p53 and her continued advances in cancer science. I join the MD Anderson community in congratulating her and celebrating this remarkable accomplishment.”

Lozano was the first to establish p53 as a transcriptional activator of other genes. Transcription is the first step in a gene’s expression of its protein. She also showed that common p53 mutants fail to launch transcription, and discovered other proteins, Mdm2 and Mdm4, which play critical roles in inhibiting p53 activity in development and cancer.

“I am humbled and honored to be elected to the Academy,” said Lozano. “Importantly, I am proud that it recognizes what has been, and continues to be, a group effort, by my team and me, and my many collaborators at MD Anderson in our shared mission to end cancer.”

Lozano received her Bachelor of Science degree magna cum laude in biology and mathematics from The University of Texas Pan American and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. After a short postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, she joined 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 (AACR) and member of the National Academy of Medicine. Her many honors include the Mattie Allen Fair Research Chair in 2004 from MD Anderson, and AACR’s Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship. She is also the recipient of distinguished alumni awards from both her undergraduate and graduate alma maters.