Mary-Claire King

Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medicine (Medical Genetics)

Mary-Claire King Biography

Mary-Claire King, PhD, is American Cancer Society Research Professor of Genetics and Medicine (Medical Genetics) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. King was elected to serve as 2012 President of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), after having completed a two-year term as a member of the ASHG Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008. She has also served on the Editorial Board of ASHG’s scientific journal, The American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG).

In 1990, Mary-Claire King demonstrated that a single gene on chromosome 17q21 (which she named BRCA1) was responsible for breast and ovarian cancer in many families. Her discovery of BRCA1 revolutionized the study of numerous other common inherited diseases. The approach that King developed to identify BRCA1 has since proven valuable in the study of many other genetic diseases and conditions.

Dr. King’s current research employs the use of experimental and bioinformatics genomics tools to study complex genetic diseases in humans. Her research focuses on identifying and characterizing critical genes – and their interaction with environmental influences – that play a role in the development of conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.

She has served on the National Commission on Breast Cancer of the President's Cancer Panel, the advisory board of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, the Council of the NIH Fogarty Center, the advisory board of the National Action Plan for Breast Cancer, the NIH Breast Cancer Program Review Group, the Board of Scientific Counselors of NCI, the Board of Scientific Counselors of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the National Research Council committee to advise the Department of Defense on their Breast Cancer Research Program, and many NIH study sections. Abroad, she has served as Consultant to the Commission on the Disappearance of Persons of the Republic of Argentina and has carried out DNA identifications for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal. Her lab continues to provide genetic identification services and currently serves as the DNA identification base for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunals.

Dr. King has won many awards and honors for her seminal contributions to genetics research, as well as her humanitarian efforts. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). King was also named as honorary chair for the state of Washington at the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations. In 2004, King was honored as the recipient of the Gruber Genetics Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and she has received many other awards throughout her career, including the Clowes Award for Basic Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Jill Rose Award from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Brinker Award from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Dr. King holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College in Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California at Berkeley and carried out postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to joining the Department of Medicine (Medical Genetics) and the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1995, King served as a Professor of Genetics in the Departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and of Epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley from 1976 to 1995.

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Mary-Claire King is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Mary-Claire King for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Mary-Claire King generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Mary-Claire King for an upcoming event.

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