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2006 Gala

James E. Cleaver, Ph.D.

Recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award

James E. Cleaver received a B.A. in Natural Sciences at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge in 1961, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Radiotherapeutics, Cambridge in 1964.

He began his career in the United States as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, and became Assistant Professor of Radiology at University of California San Francisco in 1968, becoming Professor of Radiology in 1974. He has been Professor of Dermatology since 1996 and Program Director, Cutaneous Oncology since 1998.

Dr. Cleaver has established links between DNA damage and repair and their relationship to cancer, as well as the effects of radiation on cell tissue. He was the first to demonstrate that skin cancer is linked to DNA damage, and correctly saw that patients with the rare skin problem Xeroderma Pigmentosum develop innumerable and inevitably fatal skin cancers, being unable to repair sunlight-induced DNA damage. This finding was the genesis of untold thousands of research projects that have led to previously inconceivable insights into how cancers develop - work that has profoundly affected modern understanding of cancer.

He is the author of over 350 articles on genetics, DNA and cellular structure, and has also served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific publications. His awards include the Lila Gruber Cancer Award from the American Academy of Dermatology in 1976, the Luigi Provasoli Award from the American Society of Phycology in 1991, the Senior Investigator Award from the American Society for Photobiology in 1995, and the John B. Little Award for Radiation Sciences from the Harvard School of Medicine in 2003. He is also on the Roll of Honor for the International Union for Research on Cancer in Geneva. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1999.

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