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St. Jude physician-scientist receives AACR award

Memphis, Tennessee, May 6, 2019

Ester Obeng, MD, PhD, in hallway at St. Jude

Obeng joined St. Jude in 2017 as an assistant member of the Department of Oncology

The American Association for Cancer Research has named Esther Obeng, M.D., Ph.D., of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital recipient of the 2019 Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award.

The award supports researchers early in their careers to support basic, translational or clinical research focused on the cause, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of cancer. Obeng will present her research at the 2020 AACR Annual Meeting.

Obeng joined St. Jude in 2017 as an assistant member of the Department of Oncology. Her research focuses on myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disorder of blood stem cells with limited treatment options and a high risk of developing into leukemia. She is studying how mutations associated with MDS transform normal cells into cancer cells. Her goal is to develop new treatments that are better tolerated.

She earned her undergraduate and doctorate degree at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Medicine. Obeng completed her internship at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She did a fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.