Mina Bissell, Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship. Bissell’s work in BSE involves describing ways in which the microenvironment, or context, of cells can influence tumor growth and extracellular matrix in the regulation of gene expression and tumorigenesis, and for the invention of a 3-D organoid culture technology. Above and beyond these scientific contributions, Bissell continually demonstrates a commitment to supporting collaborative research and mentoring early career investigators.
This spring, Mina Bissell, distinguished senior scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division, was awarded the 2020 Canada Gairdner International Award for Biomedical Research. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Gairdner Foundation held their annual Laureate Lectures and Gala Celebration—normally hosted in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—virtually this year. Bissell presented her talk, entitled “Why Don’t We Get More Cancer?”, about a signaling pathway she and her research group discovered that doesn’t get turned off in cancer and leads to uncontrolled growth. She received her medal surrounded by family at home in Berkeley, and spoke about the power of empathy.
Mina Bissell, distinguished senior scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division, is one of five recipients of the 2020 Canada Gairdner International Award – an annual honor given to scientists who have contributed to transformative human health research.
Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and Western University in Ontario, Canada each honored Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division Distinguished Scientist Mina Bissell this fall for her exceptional body of work in cancer biology, which shifted the central paradigm of the field.
Mina Bissell, a distinguished scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has been selected to receive two prestigious awards for her pioneering contributions to breast cancer biology and medicine. Her research challenged existing dogma by showing that malignant cells behave much differently in a culture than they do in a body. Bissell’s “Dynamic Reciprocity” model asserts that the support molecules within tissues communicate directly with local cells, thus altering gene expression. Her model has amassed impressive supporting evidence in the 40 years since it was first proposed, and has led to an ever-growing number of advances in the understanding and treatment of cancer.
In recognition of her lifetime achievements, including her extraordinary insights into how a cell’s local environment impacts gene expression and tumor formation, the American Philosophical Society (APS) has chosen Bissell as the recipient of the Jonathan E. Rhoads Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine. Additionally, she was selected by the Weizmann Institute of Science as one of two recipients of the 2019 Weizmann Women & Science Award in recognition of her trailblazing career as a woman in STEM.
Learn more on the Berkeley Lab News Center.