Professor Suzanne Cory has made signal contributions to cancer genetics. With Jerry Adams, she showed that chromosome translocations associated with Burkitt’s lymphomas activate the oncogene MYC and proved its oncogenic role using transgenic mice. In 1988, David Vaux, Cory and Adams reported that BCL-2, the putative oncogene translocated in follicular lymphoma, acts by impairing apoptosis. Cory’s subsequent studies with WEHI colleagues, including Adams, Andreas Strasser, David Huang and Philippe Bouillet, exploring how BCL-2 and its relatives regulate cell life and death informed the development of the BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax, which is revolutionising the treatment of certain cancers.
Professor Cory was Director of WEHI (1996-2009) and President of the Australian Academy of Science (2010-2014).