Doctor of Science
Dr Mary-Claire King is the American Cancer Society Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
Dr King grew up in Chicago and received her BA cum laude from Carleton College, Minnesota; her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley; and her postdoctoral training at UC San Francisco.
Dr King was the first to show that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. She pioneered the use of DNA sequencing for human rights investigations, developing the approach of sequencing mitochondrial DNA preserved in human remains, then applying this method to the identification of kidnapped children in Argentina and subsequently to cases of human rights violations on six continents.
Dr King has served on multiple councils and study sections of the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences. She was consultant to the Commission on the Disappearance of Persons of the Republic of Argentina and carried out DNA identifications for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunals. She is past president of the American Society of Human Genetics and is currently a member of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Dr King has been awarded fourteen honorary doctoral degrees and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and as a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences. In 2014, she received the Lasker Special Achievement Award for Medical Research and in 2016 the United States National Medal of Science.
In recognition of her contributions to society and the world, the University has resolved to confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.