May 9, 2005 — Dr. Susan Band Horwitz, professor and co-chair of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, and one of the nation’s foremost cancer researchers, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s most prestigious honorary society for scientists.
Dr. Horwitz, who is also the Rose C. Falkenstein professor of cancer research and an associate director for Therapeutics of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, is a leading expert in the molecular pharmacology of anti-cancer agents and is deeply involved in the development of new therapies for cancer and in the study of drug resistance.
Dr. Horwitz played a pioneering role in the development of Taxol as an anti-cancer agent. Her laboratory demonstrated that Taxol, a natural product isolated from the Pacific yew tree, interfered with the basic machinery that cells use to divide. The findings encouraged the National Cancer Institute to move forward with the development of Taxol, which became “the antitumor drug of the nineties” and is now approved for treatment of breast, ovarian and lung cancers.
Commenting on Dr. Horwitz’ selection by the Academy, Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., Einstein’s Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, who is also a member of the National Academy, noted that her “pioneering discoveries in relation to cancer chemotherapeutic agents and their mechanisms of action have been instrumental in enhancing the quality of life of thousands of patients. It is an enormous achievement,” he added, “and her work will stand as one of science’s outstanding examples of the importance and the success of translational research.”
One of the first researchers in the nation to receive an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Horwitz’ career is replete with honors. She is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research and recipient of its Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award; a recipient of the Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Biological & Medical Sciences, New York City’s highest honor for achievement in the biological and medical sciences; a fellow of the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the Foundation’s highest distinction; and a recipient of the Barnard Medal of Distinction, the highest honor awarded by Barnard College. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and on the board of scientific advisors for the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Current faculty members of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who are also members of the National Academy of Sciences include, in addition to Dean Purpura, Dr. Michael V.L. Bennett, Dr. Stanley G. Nathenson, Dr. Matthew D. Scharff, and Dr. Salome G. Waelsch.