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Dr. Martine Roussel recognized for groundbreaking work

The American Association for Cancer Research also honored the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientist for her contributions to advancing women in science.

Memphis, Tennessee, April 10, 2022

Dr. Martine Roussel

Martine Roussel, Ph.D., is a member of the St. Jude Department of Tumor Cell Biology and holds the Endowed Chair in Molecular Carcinogenesis.

Martine Roussel, Ph.D., of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been awarded the 2022 American Association in Cancer Research (AACR) Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship.

Roussel is a member of the St. Jude Department of Tumor Cell Biology and holds the Endowed Chair in Molecular Carcinogenesis. She is being recognized for her pivotal contributions to understanding pediatric brain tumors, particularly medulloblastoma. Her work includes landmark discoveries in molecular oncology, cell cycle control and translational development of treatment strategies for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumor.

The award also recognizes her contributions to advancing women in science through her leadership and example. Roussel has mentored and supervised dozens of graduate students  and postdoctoral fellows. She has been recognized as the St. Jude mentor of the year.

Roussel delivered the award lecture on April 10 at the 2022 AACR Annual Meeting in New Orleans. In her lecture, she discussed her journey from developing accurate models of medulloblastoma to finding new therapies to treat the disease. AACR is the first and largest cancer research organization dedicated to accelerating the conquest of cancer.

“Dr. Roussel has devoted her life’s work to scientific exploration, advancing how the world understands the molecular underpinnings of pediatric brain tumors,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “With this information, investigators are tailoring cancer treatments without compromising cures. Beyond landmark research, Dr. Roussel has given much to St. Jude, serving as a respected collaborator, dedicated mentor and role model for women in science. This honor from the AACR is richly deserved.” 

Roussel joined St. Jude in 1983 as a research associate. Her career includes identification of several important oncogenes, including Myc, Myb and ErbB. Her research implicated Myc genes  as key regulators for biological processes. Her work revealed how Myc genes are essential to understand the origins of medulloblastoma and identify potential treatment strategies.

“I am honored to have been chosen among many other women scientists worthy of this award,” Roussel said. “Many women have trained in the laboratory during my almost four decades at St. Jude, many of whom are successful scientists in their own right. This award has been previously given to many remarkable women scientists who have paved the way for women like me and who have inspired me and helped me during my scientific career.”

The Friend lectureship was established in 1998 to honor Charlotte Friend, Ph.D., a renowned virologist, who discovered the Friend virus. The award is the latest AACR honor for Roussel. In 2021, she was elected to a fellowship with the AACR Academy. The Academy Fellows are distinguished scientists who have made outstanding contributions and spearheaded innovations in cancer research. Downing was recognized at the meeting for election to the 2022 AACR Academy class of fellows.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. 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 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit, read St. Jude Progress, a digital magazine, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.