Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.

2015 Alma Dea Morani Awardee

Dr. King is known worldwide for her major accomplishments in human genetics research. Some of her most noteworthy achievements include: identifying the BRCA1 gene responsible for inherited susceptibility to breast cancer; demonstrating that the genomes of humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical; and pioneering the application of genomic sequencing methods in forensics to identify victims of human rights abuse.

Dr. King’ s current research employs the use of experimental and bioinformatics genomics tools to study complex genetic diseases in humans. Her research focuses on identifying and characterizing critical genes – and their interaction with environmental influences – that play a role in the development of conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.

She has served on the National Commission on Breast Cancer of the President’ s Cancer Panel, the advisory board of the NIH Office of Research on Women’ s Health, the Council of the NIH Fogarty Center, the advisory board of the National Action Plan for Breast Cancer, the NIH Breast Cancer Program Review Group, the Board of Scientific Counselors of NCI, the Board of Scientific Counselors of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the National Research Council committee to advise the Department of Defense on their Breast Cancer Research Program, and many NIH study sections. Abroad, she has served as Consultant to the Commission on the Disappearance of Persons of the Republic of Argentina and has carried out DNA identifications for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal. Her lab continues to provide genetic identification services and currently serves as the DNA identification base for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunals.