The Metastasis Research Society has selected Ashani Weeraratna, PhD, Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as the 2022 winner of the Paget-Ewing Award for scientific excellence. Announced July 5, the biennial award recognizes a researcher’s substantial contributions to understanding and/or controlling cancer metastasis.
Weeraratna’s research on melanoma has explored how aging and the tumor microenvironment affect metastasis. Recent research from her lab led by postdoctoral fellow Mitch Fane and published in Nature used mice and human cells to show age-related changes in fibroblast signaling that, in the skin, prime melanoma cells to switch to a metastatic dispersal state, but in lungs prime metastasized melanoma cells to switch from dormancy to growth and proliferation.
Weeraratna is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and co-leader of Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and was appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board last year. Outside of the lab she has worked on skin safety public health campaigns, is a supporter and mentor for junior faculty and trainees, and an advocate for diversity in science.