Simon M. Shubitz Cancer Prize and Lectureship

Since 1978, the Simon M. Shubitz Cancer Prize and Lectureship has recognized excellence in cancer research and brought to the University of Chicago internationally respected scientists who have made significant contributions to the study of cancer. The award is named in honor of Simon M. Shubitz, MD, a distinguished alumnus known for his dedication as a physician and his efforts as a humanitarian and philanthropist.

While originally presented biannually, the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation now present the award annually.

“The truly great physician is the one who meticulously searches, teaches, and heals. That ideal physician is the true Laureate of Medicine from whom we can learn, and whose presence will inspire us all.”

– Simon M. Shubitz, MD

2019 Shubitz Award Recipient

Laura Esserman, photo by Elena Graham

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, is professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and director of the UCSF Breast Care Clinic. Her work in breast cancer spans the spectrum from basic science to public policy issues, and the impact of both on the delivery of clinical care. Dr. Esserman is recognized as a thought leader in cancer screening and over-diagnosis, as well as innovative clinical trial design.

She led the creation of the University of California-wide Athena Breast Health Network, a learning system designed to integrate clinical care and research as it follows 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes.

The Athena Network launched the PCORI-funded WISDOM Study, which tests a personalized approach to breast cancer screening in 100,000 women. She is also a leader of the innovative I-SPY TRIAL model, designed to accelerate the identification and approval of effective new agents for women with high risk breast cancers.


  • Past Recipients

    2018 – Michael Caliguiri, MD, City of Hope, Duarte, California
    2017 – Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
    2016 – James R. Downing, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
    2015 – Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Meyer Cancer Center, New York
    2014 – Nancy Davidson, MD, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Center
    2013 – Todd Golub, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass.
    2012 – Joe Gray, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute, Portland
    2011 – Charles L. Sawyers, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York
    2010 – Irving L. Weissman, MD, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
    2009 – Margaret R. Spitz, MD, MPH, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
    2008 – Brian J. Druker, MD, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
    2007 – Craig B. Thompson, MD, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    2006 – Tyler E. Jacks, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, Mass.
    2005 – Stephen B. Baylin, MD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.
    2004 – Ronald M. Evans, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, La Jolla, Calif.
    2003 – Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS. University of California, San Francisco
    2002 – John Mendelsohn, MD, The University of Texas, Houston
    2001 – Peter A. Jones, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
    2000 – Alexander Varshavsky, PhD, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
    1999 – Mary Claire King, MD, University of Washington, Seattle
    1998 – Albert de la Chapelle, MD, PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus
    1997 – Stanley J. Korsmeyer, MD, Washington University, Saint Louis
    1996 – Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
    1995 – Arnold J. Levine, PhD, Princeton University, N.J.
    1994 – Raymond L. White, PhD, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
    1993 – Michael B. Sporn, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
    1992 – Leland H. Hartwell, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle
    1991 – Lance A. Liotta, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
    1990 – Robert T. Schimke, MD, Stanford University, Calif.
    1989 – Robert A. Weinberg, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
    1988 – Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
    1987 – Thomas A. Waldmann, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
    1986 – Philip Leder, MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    1985 – Robert C. Gallo, MD, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
    1984 – Harold E. Varmus, MD, University of California, San Francisco
    1982 – Judah Folkman, MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston
    1980 – Peter C. Nowell, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    1978 – Bruce N. Ames, PhD, University of California, Berkeley


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