Downey native Robert Lewis named Scientist Laureate for cancer research

Photo courtesy University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Photo courtesy University of Nebraska Medical Center.

DOWNEY — Downey native Robert Lewis, Ph.D., was honored last week as the 13th Scientist Laureate, the highest honored bestowed upon researchers by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Lewis is a professor of cancer research at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases.

He was honored March 5 along with 23 other researchers recently named UNMC Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award winners for 2018.

Dr. Lewis’ research focuses on identifying vulnerabilities in cancer cells and the genes that are required for the formation of a tumor that are not required for the formation of a normal cell.

“The idea being that, if we can identify those vulnerabilities in tumors, we might be able to fashion therapies that will kill the tumor cell but not make the patient sick,” Dr. Lewis said.

“Rob is well deserving of this recognition,” said Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Eppley Institute. “His research is nationally recognized and he has played a vital leadership role in the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.”

"The Scientist Laureate is a unique award because it is intended to honor a UNMC faculty who not only has had a history of successful research and funding, but has also given back as a research leader, developing resources and mentoring other faculty," said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research. "Rob Lewis is the latest Scientist Laureate because he has done just that. His work over his UNMC career spans not only cancer, but diabetes and obesity and now drug discovery and development."

Dr. Lewis graduated from Warren High School in 1974 after having attended Rio Hondo Elementary and Griffiths Middle School. He earned his BS from UC Irvine and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

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