Susan G. Komen® Recognizes Renowned Investigators as 2021 Recipients of Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction


Researchers recognized for leadership in cancer genetics and understanding the relationship of cancer DNA and RNA to therapy response.

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, recognized two widely respected and innovative breast cancer researchers this week, announcing that Carlos Caldas, M.D., FMedSci, and Judy Garber, M.D., M.P.H., have been selected as this year’s recipients of the Brinker Awards – Komen’s highest scientific honor.

The prestigious Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction, established by Komen in 1992, recognize leading scientists for their significant contributions to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer (Basic Science) and advances in breast cancer care (Clinical Research), which are both essential to combating the disease.

Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science

This year’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science will be presented to Carlos Caldas, M.D., FMedSci, Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Caldas is being honored for his significant contributions in the field of breast cancer genomics. His work has advanced our understanding of the DNA and RNA compositions of human breast cancers, the genomic heterogeneity of breast cancers, and the relationships of a tumor’s make up to individual outcomes and responses to breast cancer treatment. This work helped define molecular subtypes (or groups) of breast cancer and identify the genomic changes that drive tumor growth.

“We are thrilled Dr. Caldas is being recognized for his leadership and work on breast cancer functional genomics. He is an exceptional investigator, and his research has opened new horizons for breast cancer. The discoveries of Dr. Caldas and his laboratory have redefined breast cancer taxonomy, identified novel subtypes and provided critical insights to the biology of the disease,” said Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Molecular Oncology.

Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research

This year’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research will be presented to Judy Garber, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine at Harvard medical School and Chief of the Division of Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Garber is being recognized for her trailblazing work and significant contributions in clinical cancer genetics that have shaped the care of people with breast cancer, their families and those at risk of breast cancer. Her research is advancing our understanding of the role of BRCA1/2 gene mutations in breast cancer and the treatment and prevention of triple-negative breast cancer and other BRCA-associated cancers.

“Dr. Garber is a true leader, both as a researcher in breast cancer genetics and as a teacher of a generation of cancer geneticists. We are delighted to recognize the accomplishments of this superb physician-scientist,” said Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. George Sledge, Jr. M.D., Professor of Medicine, Stanford University.

The 2021 Brinker Award winners will deliver keynote lectures at the 44th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which will be held both in-person and virtually December 7-10, 2021. Advancing breast cancer research has been a priority for Komen since opening its doors in 1982. To date, Komen has invested more than $1.1 billion in breast cancer research, making it the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government.

Related Videos
Related Content