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Markey researcher receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Daret St. Clair, PhD

/ by UK HealthCare

UK Markey Cancer Center researcher Daret St. Clair, PhD, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM). St. Clair received the award and gave a feature lecture at the SfRBM’s 25th annual conference in Chicago earlier this month.

Revolutionary research

St. Clair's career is marked by her seminal work on the role of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in cancer development and therapy. Her research has resolved long-debated questions about MnSOD expression in cancer and has demonstrated that the presence of MnSOD inversely regulates the induction and progression of cancer.

Her investigations of the mechanisms mediating the unique role of MnSOD are fundamental contributions to recognizing that cancer cells are under higher oxidative stress than their normal cell counterparts. Her studies have elevated the redox biology field to its stature as an important component of cancer research.  

“Dr. St. Clair’s groundbreaking work in cancer research and her dedication to finding answers to help the millions of people around the globe diagnosed with this disease show why she stands as a preeminent example for not only women in science but all scientists,” said Dr. Phyllis A. Dennery, president of SfRBM. “No one is more deserving of this prestigious recognition than my friend and colleague Daret.”

St. Clair's career at UK

St. Clair came to UK as an assistant professor in 1991 and was promoted to full professor in 1999. Since 2002, she has held UK’s James Graham Brown Foundation Endowed Chair. She has served as the associate director for basic research at Markey for nearly 10 years, and last year she became the director of the UK Center for Excellence in Cancer and Metabolism.

Her current focus is on the long-term side effects of cancer treatment that not only significantly impair the quality of life of survivors but also have serious implications for cancer recurrence and prohibitive long-term healthcare costs. Her aspiration is that the results from extensive proof-of-concept studies will galvanize further developments of novel redox-based therapeutic agents for clinical applications and will have a groundbreaking impact on future drug design and clinical practice.

"This award signifies the work that we are doing here at UK," said St. Clair. "We are focused not only on the successful treatment of cancer but also on the quality of life of cancer survivors. As cancer therapy becomes more effective, more patients are surviving cancer and living longer, but they are often living with one or more of the side effects caused by therapy." 

St. Clair and her team are addressing this problem by testing a novel approach that could potentially increase therapeutic efficacy while reducing side effects.

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