Susan G. Komen® Names 2016 Recipients of Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction

Leaders in Tumor Genomics and Evidence-Based Surgical Treatment Recognized for Important Contributions to Breast Cancer Research

Charles Perou, Ph.D., 2016 winner of Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science (Photo: Business Wire)

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DALLAS--()--Two leading breast cancer investigators today join the ranks of an esteemed group of scientists who have been recognized for advancing breast cancer research and medicine with the prestigious Brinker Awards – the highest scientific honor awarded by Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization.

Established by Komen in 1992, the Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction recognize the efforts of pioneers in two critically important areas of the fight to end breast cancer: Clinical Research and Basic Science. Advances in both the clinical setting and in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer are essential to combating the disease.

This year’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science will be presented to Charles Perou, Ph.D., the May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology and Professor of Genetics and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and co-program leader of the breast cancer research program and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Monica Morrow, M.D., FACS, chief of the Breast Surgery Service and Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, will receive the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research.

For nearly two decades, Dr. Perou has worked to decipher genomic information to help inform treatment decision making for breast cancer patients. His contributions to research include the characterization of the diversity of breast tumors, which demonstrated that breast cancers can be classified into at least five molecular subtypes and led to the discovery of the basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype. He and his colleagues were also among the first to discover that the breast cancer subtypes were of prognostic and predictive value, and furthermore, to associate specific genetic mutations with specific breast cancer subtypes.

“Dr. Perou has been a giant in the study of breast cancer genomics,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. George Sledge. “From his early work defining breast cancer intrinsic subtypes to his leadership of the Breast Cancer TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) project, his work has changed how we view the biology of the disease and has informed novel therapeutic approaches.”

Dr. Morrow has been a champion of the idea that “more is not necessarily better” when it comes to breast cancer treatments, devoting her career to advancing clinical practice and empowering women to make treatment decisions. She was instrumental in showing that sentinel lymph node dissection is an effective and safe alternative to complete (axillary) lymph node dissection for many women with early metastatic breast cancer. She is held in high regard for her commitment to evidence-based surgery, and has led a number of clinical trials and national committees that have advanced less-invasive surgical treatments and developed standards for breast-conserving surgery which have helped shape the standard of breast cancer care for patients around the world.

Dr. Eric Winer, also Chief Scientific Advisor for Komen, recognized Dr. Morrow’s vital contributions. “Dr. Morrow is a leader in breast cancer surgery and has had a monumental influence on breast surgical practices. Her work has led to substantive changes in surgical approaches that have led to significant quality of life improvements for countless women with early stage breast cancer.”

Both 2016 Brinker Award winners will deliver keynote lectures on Dec. 7 at the 39th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and will be honored at an awards ceremony.

Advancing breast cancer research has been a priority for Komen since opening its doors in 1982. To date, Komen has invested more than $920 million in breast cancer research, and is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government, currently funding nearly 300 research grants worldwide.

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at


Susan G. Komen
Joni Avery, 972-855-4382

Release Summary

Two breast cancer investigators join an esteemed group of scientists who have been recognized for advancing breast cancer research and medicine with the prestigious Susan G. Komen Brinker Awards.


Susan G. Komen
Joni Avery, 972-855-4382