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MU Awards Honorary Degree to Cancer Pioneer Kathryn Calame

April 20th, 2011

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri alumna Kathryn Calame has been internationally recognized for her invaluable contributions to immunology and cancer research during the past 40 years and her initial research on the immune system’s response to foreign antigens, which was critical to the development of current vaccine strategies. For her achievements in science and medicine, University of Missouri officials presented Calame with an honorary degree at the May 2011 Graduate School’s Commencement Ceremony.

For her achievements in science and medicine, University of Missouri officials presented Calame with an honorary degree at the May 2011 Graduate School’s Commencement Ceremony.

Calame graduated from MU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1962, and earned her master’s and doctorate in biochemistry from George Washington University. She joined the Biological Chemistry faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1980.  In 1988, Calame joined the departments of Microbiology and of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.  There, Calame characterized a specific regulatory protein, B-lymphocyte induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP-1) which increased scientists’ understanding of the human immune response.

“Dr. Calame and her research teams made cutting-edge contributions to our understanding of gene regulatory control in the development of antibody-producing B cells that form the foundation of the human immune system and of critical regulatory signals that dictate growth and differentiation of human lymphomas, leukemia and breast cancers,” said Mark McIntosh, chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at MU.

In addition to her post at UCLA, Calame has served as professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and as director of the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies at Columbia University.

Calame was recognized with a Leukemia Society Scholar Award and the UCLA Dwyer Award for outstanding cancer research, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Faculty of 1000 and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Calame is the wife of fellow honorary degree recipient Byron E. “Barney” Calame, the former public editor and ombudsman for The New York Times. The couple has two grown children.

Honorary degrees are awarded to graduates or former students who have achieved distinction. Degrees also are awarded to people who have rendered distinctive service to the state or the university, as well as people of high distinction from around the world.

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