The Ruth Sager Memorial Lecture

The Ruth Sager Memorial Lecture is given each year by a leading Cancer Researcher to honor:

Ruth Sager, Ph.D. (1918 -1997)

Ruth was born and raised near Chicago, and majored in biology at the University of Chicago, graduating in 1938. She was then intensely involved in the Zionist movement, worked on a Farm during World War II, and obtained an M.S. at Rutgers in 1944. She received her Ph.D. with Marcus Rhoades at Columbia in 1949, performed research at Rockefeller University, and then at Columbia. Faculty appointments were rare for women at that time, so only in 1966 did she become Professor at Hunter College. In 1975 she was one of the first woman Full Professors at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Ruth had two distinguished research careers. First, in the face of universal skepticism she almost alone established cytoplasmic (organelle) genetics. She constructed the first genetic map of chloroplast genes, found their DNA, and its uniparental methylation as a basis for non-Mendelian inheritance.

Her final 25 years were devoted to investigations of genetics of cancer. Among many major contributions, she developed cell lines suitable for comparing normal and cancer cells, and championed the major role of chromosomal rearrangements, accelerated evolution, requirement of more than one mutation, and tumor suppressors in addition to oncogenes. She proposed the field of 'expression genetics' and discovered numerous novel genes whose expression is altered in cancers, such as maspin. Ruth worked to the end, publishing important articles and obtaining an NIH Grant in the month of her death. She was a wise and caring mentor to many colleagues who continue to develop her research.

Ruth received numerous honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, memberships in the National Academy of Sciences which gave her the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. She was Alumna Medalist of the University of Chicago and received the Princess Takamatsu (Japan), University of Liege (Belgium), and Australian clinical oncology society's awards.

Ruth's interests beyond science included art, music, theater, tennis, and much else. She had a strong personality, knew what she wanted and usually got it. She was described in her fifties as "a calmly articulate and attractive woman (who looks younger by about 15 years) …a tall, striking brunette with a ready smile and a voice that carries a merry lilt". She early described herself as a "probably the happiest person I know".

Ruth died at 79 of bladder cancer. She is buried in Woods Hole where she had a beloved summer home. The Ruth Sager Lectures in Cancer Research honor her memory.

Past Ruth Sager Symposia or Lectures:

Craig Thompson: Linking Cellular Metabolism to the Control of Cell Growth and Differenttiation br>
Frank McCormick: The Ras Pathway in Cancer Biology and Therapybr>
Joseph Nevins: Genomic Strategies for Achieving Personalized Cancer Therapy


Jacqueline Lees, Charles Lin, Charlotte Kuperwasser. Models of Cancer Invasion and Metastasis

Michael F. Clarke  What can we learn from the prospective identification of cancer stem cells?

Patricia Steeg:  A molecular portrait of brain metastasis of breast cancer

Robert A. Weinberg: Mechanisms of Malignant Tumor Progression

Joan Brugge: Modeling Breast Cancer in 3D Cultures

Alfred Goldberg: Proteasomes and host defense against cancer: from new insights to novel therapies

Gary Stein: Intranuclear organization and assembly of transcriptional regulatory machinery: Implications for biological control and cancer

William G. Kaelin, Jr.: von Hippel-Lindau Disease: Implications for Cancer and Ischemic Disorders

Randall W. King: Chemical Approaches to Understanding Mitosis

William C. Hahn: Senescence, Cooperation, and Human Cell Transformation

I. Bernard Weinstein: Gene Addiction in Cancer - an Exploitable Target for Chemoprevention and Therapy

Debajit Kumar Biswas: Role of NF-B in Life and Death of Cancer Cells

Andre D. Rosowsky: Studies on Novel Analogs of Aminopterin: Can an Old Dog Still Hunt?

Mary Hendrix: The Multiple Roles of Maspin

Alan d’Andrea: Inherited Chromosome Instability and Cancer

Carol Rosenberg: Genetic Abnormalities Early in Breast Carcinogenesis

Barbara Smith: Biology of Breast Cancer, Clues from the Clinic

Debajit K. Biswas: Hormone-Regulated and Hormone Unregulated Pathways of Breast Cancers

Heide L. Ford: HSIX: A Novel Gene Overexpressed in Metastatic Breast Cancer

Vimla Band: Molecular Mechanisms of Breast Epithelial Cell Immortalization

Arthur B. Pardee: The Tumor Suppressor Maspin Interacts with Tissue Plasminogen Activator

Katherine J. Martin: Gene Expression Changes in Breast Cancer










photo credit:Wikipedia