Kathleen Green, PhD, the Joseph L. Mayberry, Sr., Professor of Pathology and Toxicology and professor of Dermatology, has been named the winner of the 2019 Tripartite Legacy Faculty Prize in Translational Science and Education.
“This award is extremely meaningful because it really recognizes our basic science and the importance of basic science in understanding disease pathogenesis and potentially identifying targets for therapeutic intervention,” said Green, also associate director of Basic Science Research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Green’s scientific investigations focus on understanding the functions of desmosomes, important junctions that hold cells together. Her work has revealed that desmosomes are much more than spot welds. They also integrate chemical and mechanical signaling to govern processes such as tissue development and differentiation. This work has significantly advanced the field of epithelial cell biology, as well as other associated areas including cancer, cardiology and dermatology.
Green has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and is currently the principal investigator on four National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, including two R01 awards and an R37 (MERIT) award. She also serves as co-investigator on several other NIH-funded projects. One collaboration with Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, aims to integrate cancer-related research throughout Northwestern University.
“In the last review of the Cancer Center, we got an exceptional score, the highest ever, bringing us in the top five cancer centers in the country,” says Platanias, director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “This was due to a large degree to Dr. Green’s efforts to make basic science so strong.”
In addition to her many leadership and scientific achievements, Green has been an impactful mentor for more than 30 years, and many of her former mentees have gone on to pursue their own grant-funded research and earn prestigious awards.
“I just feel incredibly fortunate that Dr. Green gave me the opportunity to work in her lab 20 years ago. It was an incredible experience and it continues to impact both my science and my life,” said Andrew Kowalczyk, PhD, a professor of Cell Biology and Dermatology at Emory University and one of Green’s former mentees.
Green earned her PhD in cell and developmental biology at Washington University in St. Louis. She came to Northwestern to conduct postdoctoral research in cell biology and joined the faculty in 1987. Since then, she has received numerous honors including Feinberg’s Distinguished Woman in Medicine and Science Award, the Society for Investigative Dermatology’s Albert M. Kligman/Phillip Frost Leadership Lecture Award, as well as being selected chair of the National Institutes of Health chartered study section “Arthritis, Connective Tissue and Skin Study Section, Center for Scientific Review.”
Most recently, she was elected to the German National Academy of Sciences, in recognition of her scientific achievements.