Young Cancer Researcher Award to Therese Sørlie

The European Association for Cancer Research confers the EACR Young Cancer Researcher Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution in the field of fundamental research in cancer. This award is presented on an annual basis to a young member of the Association. Two “Highly Commended” Awards have also been made.

On the occasion of EACR-18 the award will be presented to Therese Sørlie
Therese Sørlie obtained her PhD in molecular genetics in 2000 under the supervision of Professor Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. During her post-graduate work, she proved herself a dedicated and innovative scientist, and her thesis was nominated for the Gold Medal Award. During this period she made several short visits to the laboratory of David Botstein, Professor of Genetics at Stanford University. These visits were crucial to the progress of the joint projects of the two laboratories. Prof. Botstein recognized the high quality of her work and offered her a postdoctoral position in his lab, an opportunity she explored to the full.

During recent years she has been the first or shared first author of three high profile articles (Nature 406, 747-752, 2000; PNAS 98, 10869-74, 2001; PNAS 100, 8418-8423, 2003). The first paper in Nature paper was a pioneer study on expression profiling of breast cancer, which attracted international attention. This first study resulted in the identification of subgroups and distinct “molecular portraits” of breast tumours. In the next paper, the classification of breast tumours into 5 subtypes that were distinguished by pervasive differences in their gene expression patterns, were shown to be associated with significantly different clinical outcome. This classification into 5 subgroups, based on expression profiling, was further demonstrated to be valid also in other datasets of breast cancer patients with different age and stage of the disease. This was an important finding, demonstrating the robustness and clinical significance of such classification, based on genome wide expression profiles.

Therese Sørlie has been instrumental in the work covered by these papers, developing into an independent and innovative scientist and initiating new collaborations with leading scientists in this key area of research. She is a talented lecturer, team leader and supervisor as well as a dedicated scientist of real vision.