Mary Beckerle, PhD, has served as CEO and Director of Huntsman Cancer Institute since 2006, and she was appointed in 2009 to an additional key health sciences leadership role as Associate Vice President for Cancer Affairs at the University of Utah. Beckerle joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 1986, and is a distinguished professor of biology and oncological sciences, holding the Ralph E. and Willia T. Main Presidential Professorship. She earned her PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she was the recipient of a Danforth Fellowship, and completed post-doctoral research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beckerle’s research has defined a novel molecular pathway that regulates cell motility, and her lab is currently focused on understanding the impact of this pathway on tumor progression, particularly in Ewing’s sarcoma. Her scientific work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Cancer Society for over 23 years. She guided graduate education at the University of Utah as the director of the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Molecular Biology for two years. In addition, Beckerle developed the Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Training Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah and served for several years as the principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute grant that supported this cancer-focused training initiative. Beckerle is the principal investigator of Huntsman Cancer Institute’s NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG).
An active participant in national and international scientific affairs, Mary served as president of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in 2006, and was appointed in 2010 to the American Association of Cancer Research Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee. She has served on numerous strategic planning and peer review committees for the NIH. She has served on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director and as Chair of the American Cancer Society Council for Extramural Grants. She currently serves on the Scientific Review Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Coalition for Life Sciences Board of Directors, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Center for Biological Sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the premiere life sciences research institute in India. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Mechanobiology Institute in Singapore and several National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated cancer centers. In 2013, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research.
In 2000, Beckerle was appointed as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Rothschild-Yvette Mayent Award Scholar at the Curie Institute in Paris. She received the Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology in 2001, the Sword of Hope Award from the American Cancer Society in 2004, and the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence (the University of Utah’s highest honor) in 2007. Dr. Beckerle was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.