Professor Emerita

Benita S. Katzenellenbogen

CAS Professor Emerita of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Cell & Developmental Biology

In her scholarly work Swanlund Professor Katzenellenbogen addresses fundamental issues in cell biology, determining how hormones and other chemical signaling agents regulate cell function. She investigates the structure and function of steroid hormone receptors and their role in regulating gene expression and the growth of normal and cancerous tissues. While her work is directed at revealing basic biological mechanisms, she is equally interested in applying research discoveries to practical problems. This has involved the development of selective hormonal agents for menopausal hormone replacement and breast cancer treatment and prevention, and studies addressing the roles of hormone receptors and their coregulator partner proteins in reproduction and fertility.

She has published more than 300 research articles, contributed 30 book chapters, and coedited a text on hormone-dependent cancers. She is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and special fellowships from governmental, private, and academic institutions, including the MERIT Award, National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health; Jill Rose Award for outstanding research, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation; Ernst Oppenheimer Award and Roy O. Greep Lecture Award, and Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award, The Endocrine Society; and Distinguished Scientist Award, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served as president of The Endocrine Society (2000-2001). She has trained more than 90 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists, many of whom are leading distinguished careers in academia, governmental agencies, and the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry. In 2002, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from The City University of New York and, in 2007, an Honorary Degree from the University of Milan, Italy.

About her current research she writes: “We are continuing to make very good progress on our research on breast cancer and understanding ways in which we can prevent or reverse resistance to endocrine therapies. We are also advancing in our research in reproductive biology and the roles of steroid hormone receptors and coregulators in maintenance of pregnancy and in regulation of fertility. In both research areas, we are using modern molecular, genomic, biochemical, cell biological and systems biology physiological approaches to move toward more individualized and targeted treatments for breast cancer and enhancement of fertility.”

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