Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.

American Cancer Society Research Professor of Medicine and Genetics
University of Washington
United StatesMary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Research Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics at the University of Washington. Her laboratory includes undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs working in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, epidemiology, and statistics. Their work focuses primarily on genetic analysis of breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. King was the first to prove that breast cancer is inherited in some families and is now investigating what genes predisposing to breast cancer in families may reveal about breast cancer generally. Her other medical research interests include genetic analysis of inherited deafness and systemic lupus erythematosus. Her lab is also interested in human genetic diversity and evolution, and in the application of DNA sequencing to human rights problems.

Dr. King received her BA in Mathematics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, her PhD in Genetics from UC Berkeley in the molecular evolution laboratory of the late Allan Wilson, and her postdoctoral training at UC San Francisco. She served on the UC Berkeley faculty from 1976 to 1995. She moved to University of Washington in 1995, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human and molecular genetics. She has served on the National Commission on Breast Cancer of the President’s Cancer Panel, on the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Use of DNA in Forensics, and as Consultant to the Commission on the Disappearance of Persons of the Republic of Argentina. Her lab has carried out DNA identifications for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal.

Dr. King has been elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a Fellow, to the Institute of Medicine and its Council, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the Clowes Award for Basic Research from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Brinker Award from the Komen Foundation, and was a Glamour magazine “Woman of the Year.” Her daughter Emily graduated from Brown University with a concentration in evolution of the English language and now lives and works in Berkeley.