Dr. Michael Kastan, executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the NAS announced Tuesday.
Kastan—who is also the William H. Shingleton professor of pharmacology and cancer biology and a professor of pediatrics—is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates named to the NAS this year. The NAS is a nonprofit organization of leading researchers charged with advising the president and Congress on matters related to science and technology. New members of the NAS are chosen based on their distinguished achievements in original research.
"Getting elected to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the best honors that one can get once in the field of science or academic medicine, so it’s truly an honor to be counted among such an august group of individuals, including many from Duke who have come before me," Kastan said. "But this is really a reflection of a group effort and all the work that all my colleagues and trainees have done."
A pediatrician and renowned cancer researcher, Kastan has served as the Duke Cancer Institute’s inaugural director since 2011. Prior to that, he worked as the director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Kastan's work focuses on abnormal DNA repair mechanisms in cancer. He added that his area of interest is the exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment, both naturally occurring and man-made, and the stress within the body that causes damage to one's DNA and leads to cancer.
In 2014, Kastan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has also been a member of the National Academy of Medicine since 2009. He was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 1995 and was named a Stohlman Scholar by The Leukemia Society of America in 1999.
Kastan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 as a Morehead Scholar with a degree in chemistry before attending the Washington University School of Medicine. He then trained in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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