David G. Nathan


Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion (1997)
IU Cancer Research Institute Building Dedication
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Myles Brand


Nathan is president emeritus of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Robert A. Stranahan distinguished professor of pediatrics and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Throughout the course of his nearly 50-year career, he has made numerous advances in medicine, including the development of the first prenatal diagnostic test for thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, and the introduction of hydroxyurea for the amelioration of sickle cell anemia.

Nathan graduated from Harvard College in 1951, then from Harvard Medical School in 1955. He completed an internship and residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women's Hospital) and was a clinical associate at the National Cancer Institute. From 1959 to 1966 Nathan was a hematologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and then became chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Children's Hospital Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 1985, he was named physician-in-chief at Children's Hospital Boston, a position he held until he was named president of Dana-Farber in 1995. He served as president until 2000.

As part of his career-long commitment to clinical research, Nathan chaired the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Panel on Clinical Research in 1997. He is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Pediatric Society, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In addition, he has written several books and has published several articles in AACR journals, among others. Nathan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal, the National Medal of Science, the Walker Prize of the Boston Museum of Science, the John Howland Medal of the American Pediatric Society and the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians.

The American Association for Cancer Research congratulated Nathan, a member of the AACR Foundation's Board of Trustees, on receiving the 2011 Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology from the American Society of Hematology. This award is the American Society of Hematology's highest honor and is named for Wallace Henry Coulter, a prolific inventor and entrepreneur who made important contributions to hematology and to the American Society of Hematology. The award is presented to someone who has demonstrated a lasting commitment to the field of hematology through outstanding contributions to education, research and practice.