Professor Jerry Adams

Professor Jerry Adams


Honorary Senior Principal Research Fellow, Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Elected in 2021
Citation on election

Molecular biologist Jerry Adams has made fundamental discoveries about the molecular causes of cancer. With Suzanne Cory, he showed that the chromosome translocations hallmarking Burkitt lymphomas activate the oncogene MYC by linkage to an immunoglobulin locus enhancer and developed transgenic mice to establish causality. In 1988, David Vaux, Cory and Adams reported the seminal finding that the putative oncogene BCL-2, translocated in follicular lymphoma, inhibits cell death. Subsequent studies by Adams and his WEHI colleagues, including Cory, Andreas Strasser, David Huang and Philippe Bouillet, have established how factions of the BCL-2 family regulate cell life and death, paving the way to BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax, which is revolutionising treatment of certain leukaemia patients.

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