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2016 NAVBO Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology

2016 NAVBO Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology -
Gabriele Bergers, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology


The NAVBO Meritorious Awards Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, and the NAVBO Council announce with pleasure the selection of Gabriele Bergers, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2016 Judah Folkman Award in Vascular Biology. This award recognizes outstanding contributions from vascular biologists who are at mid-career (within fifteen years of their first faculty appointment). Dr. Bergers will present the Folkman Award Lecture and receive the award at the 19th International Vascular Biology Meeting (October 30-November 3, 2016) in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Bergers received a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Munich (1988) and M.S. in Biochemistry/Virology at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried (1989). She completed her Ph.D. in Genetics at the Institute of Molecular Pathology at the University of Vienna (1993), characterizing transcriptional variants in Fos-responsive gene. She relocated to the U.S. in 1994 to pursue postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Hanahan at the University of California, San Francisco, where she became interested in tumor angiogenesis and participated in a collaborative project with the lab of the Folkman Award’s namesake. She has remained at UCSF and became an Assistant Professor in the Brain Tumor Research Center and Departments of Neurosurgery in 2001. Dr. Bergers was a Professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Anatomy, a Principal Investigator of the Brain Tumor Center, and holds the Neill. H. and Linda S. Brownstein Chair in Brain Tumor Research at UCSF through 2016.  She is now at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology in Belgium, where she is a Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Neurosurgery.

Dr. Berger’s research concerns the relationship between tumor microenvironment and the angiogenic response, reflecting the complex biochemical and cellular conversations occurring between host and neoplasm. Her lab has made important contributions to our understanding of how VEGF regulates angiogenesis in the special context of solid tumors. In particular, her finding that MMP-9 is capable of releasing VEGF from extracellular matrix in the tumor’s vascular niche has provided a fundamental paradigm in which to understand the “angiogenic switch” as a hallmark of malignant transformation. She has also made important contributions to our understanding of cancer stage-dependent variability in efficacy of anti-angiogenic cancer therapies, as well as the role played by cells of the immune system in promoting tumor neovascularization. In the view of her peers, her work has consistently bridged the realms of detailed molecular biological analysis and in vivo experimentation.

Please join us at IVBM in Boston this fall to honor Dr. Bergers as she receives this well-deserved award.  Dr. Bergers will present the Judah Folkman Lecture entitled, "Reciprocal regulation of the vascular and immune state in distinct tumor niches," on November 3 at the International Vascular Biology Meeting in Boston, MA.



Compiled by William R. Huckle,
NAVBO Editor

Reciprocal regulation of the vascular and immune state in distinct tumor niches