Bissell is Distinguished Scientist in the Life Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a recognized leader in the study of the extracellular matrix (ECM) – the complex physical and biochemical environment that surrounds living tissues – and how it regulates genes in both normal organs and malignant tumours.

“Dr. Bissell is an extraordinarily accomplished cell biologist whose discoveries have had an enormous impact on our understanding of the mechanisms by which living cells proliferate, differentiate, become cancerous, or, ultimately, die,” said American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). “Her insights into the role of the extracellular matrix in gene expression have revolutionized our fundamental understanding of cancer biology.”

The citation for the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR award points out how for over three decades, Bissell’s elegant studies have revealed that the critical unit of biological function is the integrated signaling circuit provided by the tissue (organ) architecture. She is being honoured for systematically looking beyond the single cell, showing that the interaction of cells with each other and with the ECM and the rest of the microenvironment influence cell proliferation, survival, morphogenesis, differentiation, and cell fate, all processes that go awry in cancer. These studies are innovative and the approaches imaginative, combined with rigor and persistence.

Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the award, which recognizes an individual who has made a major scientific discovery in basic or translational cancer research.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Association for Cancer Research