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Human Genome: A Public Forum at UCSC


Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.
American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine and Genetics,

University of Washington, Seattle

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., is the American Cancer Society Research Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics at the University of Washington. Her laboratory includes undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers working in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, epidemiology, and statistics. Their work focuses primarily on genetic analysis of breast and ovarian cancer.

King was the first to prove that breast cancer is inherited in some families. She is now investigating the genes that predispose some women to breast cancer to learn what these genes may reveal about breast cancer generally. Her other medical research interests include genetic analysis of inherited deafness and systemic lupus erythematosus. Her lab is also interested in human genetic diversity and evolution, and in the application of DNA sequencing to human rights problems.

King received her B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, her Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley, in the molecular evolution laboratory of the late Allan Wilson, and her postdoctoral training at UC San Francisco. From 1976 to 1995, she served on the UC Berkeley faculty as a professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and a professor of genetics in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. In 1995, she moved to the University of Washington, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human and molecular genetics.

King has served on the National Commission on Breast Cancer of the President's Cancer Panel, the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Use of DNA in Forensics, and as a consultant to the Commission on Disappearance of Persons of the Republic of Argentina. Her lab has carried out DNA identifications for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal.

King is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Institute of Medicine and its governing council, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. She received the Clowes Award for Basic Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Brinker Award from the Komen Foundation, and was a Glamour magazine "Woman of the Year." Her daughter Emily graduated from Brown University with a concentration in evolution of the English language and now lives and works in Berkeley.


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