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Elaine Fuchs wins 2017 McEwen Award for Innovation

Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and head of the Robin Chemers Neustein Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, has been honored with the 2017 McEwen Award for Innovation. The prize, given by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, recognizes groundbreaking work pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine. Fuchs will receive a $100,000 award and present her research at the society’s annual meeting in June.


Elaine Fuchs

Fuchs, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, studies adult skin stem cells, how they make and repair tissues, and how cancers develop. Her lab has examined hair follicle stem cells in mice to unravel the molecular pathways that determine the normal balance between stem cell maintenance and differentiation, work that has implications for wound repair and tissue regeneration, as well as the potential to identify factors that contribute to aging and skin-related disease. Fuchs has also pioneered the use of reverse genetics to understand the biological basis of normal and abnormal skin development and function.

Recent work in the Fuchs lab has identified the molecular underpinnings that guide the formation of both hair follicles and sweat glands, findings that have the potential to improve methods for culturing human skin tissue used in grafting procedures.

Fuchs received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Princeton University in 1977. Before joining Rockefeller in 2002, she was on the faculty of the University of Chicago. She is the recipient of numerous honors for her work, including the 2012 March of Dimes Prize, the 2013 American Skin Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2015 E.B. Wilson Medal, and the 2016 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research is a nonprofit membership organization that was established in 2002 to promote the exchange of information and ideas related to stem cells. Now in its seventh year, the McEwen Award for Innovation, which is supported by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, Canada, recognizes research in stem cells or regenerative medicine that contributes to the understanding or treatment of human disease.