The Wound Healing Foundation (WHF) is improving the quality of life for wound healing patients and their families through support of awareness, research and education.

Thomas K Hunt Endowed Lecture

Hunt Lecture Legacy

The Wound Healing Foundation established the Thomas K. Hunt Endowed Lecture in 2013 to honor the legacy of Dr. Hunt and to inspire and educate wound healing researchers on related research innovations. The award is not limited to those who are directly involved in wound healing research, that is, consideration will be given to researchers who demonstrate the ability to bridge scientific gaps and cross boundaries through the use of basic physiology to understand healing processes in multiple organ systems.

  • 2018 Thomas K. Hunt Lecture.
  • WHF President Laura Parnell, TK Hunt 2018 Lecturer Elaine Fuchs, and WHF Board Member Elof Eriksson.
  • WHF Board Members and TK Hunt 2018 Lecturer Elaine Fuchs (pictured from L: Marjana Tomic-Canic, WHS Past President; Manuela Martins-Green, WHF Board Member; Laura Parnell, WHF President; Elaine Fuchs, TK Hunt 2018 Lecturer; Elof Eriksson, WHF Board Member; Paul Liu, WHF Secretary)
  • WHF President Laura Parnell and Elaine Fuchs, TK Hunt 2018 Lecturer.
  • Thomas K. Hunt at the 2017 WHF Hunt Lecture.

Additional characteristics of the WHF Thomas K. Hunt Lecture awardees may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Major contributions to scientific inquiry that is likely to advance the field of wound healing
  2. Technological innovations or mechanistic insight that can quantify or improve wound healing or its research
  3. Academic achievement through mentoring across disciplines
  4. Potential impact on wound research directions or therapies

Future awardees of the Thomas K. Hunt Lectureship are selected annually by the Wound Healing Foundation. The award will fund the travel, lodging, meeting registration and compensation. Awardees are also able to attend a special private annual luncheon with the Thomas K. Hunt lecturer. If you donate to this lecture or your company provides the endowment of this lectureship, your company may also participate in this unique activity. To help complete the endowment of this program, visit our donate page to make a donation today.

Endowed Lectures

The Foundation is raising funds to support several endowed lectures to be given at the annual meeting of the Wound Healing Society. Lectures can be given by a clinical scientist and/or a basic scientist focused on improving wound care or wound healing. The goal of this campaign is $100,000 for each lecture to be endowed.

2018 Lecture - Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D.

Elaine Fuchs is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Rockefeller University, where she is the Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development. Her lecture kicked off the WHS Annual Scientific Meeting at the Symposium for Advanced Wound Care on April 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elaine Fuchs, PhD
Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor
Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
The Rockefeller University
New York, NY

B.S. in chemistry, 1972
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1977
Princeton University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1977–1980

Assistant Professor, 1980–1985
Associate Professor, 1985–1988
Professor, 1989–2002
University of Chicago

Professor, 2002–
The Rockefeller University

Associate Investigator, 1988–1993
Investigator, 1993–
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

White House Outstanding Scientist, 1985
Women in Cell Biology Senior Career Achievement Award, 1997
Cartwright Award, Columbia University, 2002
Novartis/Drew Award, 2003
Dickson Prize, 2004
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Award for Scientific Excellence, 2006
Bering Award, 2006
National Medal of Science, 2009
Charlotte Friend Award, 2010
L’Oréal-UNESCO Award, 2010
Madison Medal, 2011
Passano Award, 2011
Albany Medical Center Prize, 2011
March of Dimes Prize, 2012
Lifetime Achievement Award, American Skin Association, 2013
Kligman-Frost Leadership Award, 2013
Pasarow Award, 2013
Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, 2014
E.B. Wilson Medal, 2015
McEwen Award for Innovation, 2017

National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Medicine
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Philosophical Society
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

The largest reservoirs of adult stem cells reside in skin. They continually renew the body’s protective barrier, regenerate hair in cyclical bouts, and repair surface wounds. Dr. Fuchs studies where stem cells come from and how they make and repair tissue throughout life. She explores how stem cells communicate with immune, dermal, and other cells in their environment and how this communication malfunctions in aging and cancers.

Dr. Fuchs’ lab couples in vitro studies with classical genetics, RNAi, and CRISPR-Cas technologies in mice to study the biology of skin stem cells. Her research employs high throughput genomic analyses, live imaging, cell biology, and functional approaches to unravel the molecular pathways that determine the normal balance between stem cell maintenance and differentiation and how this goes awry in cancers. Her team is learning how stem cells establish unique chromatin landscapes and programs of gene expression and how this shifts in response to changes in their local environment. They have found that activating signals from neighboring cells instruct skin stem cells when to make hair and when to repair injuries. Conversely, inhibitory cross talk tells the stem cells when to stop making tissue and rest. This work is accelerating the development of therapeutics to enhance wound repair.

By elucidating the positive and negative signaling pathways that need to be turned on and off at the right time and place for adult skin stem cells to become activated to regenerate tissue, her group began to employ genetic methods to investigate what happens when these signals are deregulated. They learned cancer cells hijack the basic mechanisms that enable stem cells to replenish dying cells and to repair wounds.

A major focus is on squamous cell carcinomas, among the most common and life threatening of human cancers worldwide. The group first used high throughput genomics to delineate the features of so-called “cancer stem cells.” They then devised technology that permits high throughput functional screens for oncogenes and tumor suppressors in mice. By identifying mutations that selectively fuel cancer growth and showing that these alterations also occur in related human cancers, Dr. Fuchs hopes her research will lead to new therapeutics that target cancer stem cells without affecting tissue stem cells.

By studying early steps in malignancy, the group discovered that invading blood vessels and associated inflammatory cells transmit aberrant signals. Nearby tumor-initiating cells respond by reducing proliferation, invading the stroma, and resisting chemotherapy. Further away, tumor stem cells grow faster but show greater sensitivity to drugs. This leads to differences in the behavior of stem cells within the developing tumor arising from heterogeneity in the tumor microenvironment rather than variations in genetic mutations.

How do these stromal aberrations affect the transcriptional and epigenetic programs of stem cells during tumor progression? How do these changes confer drug resistance and how do they affect epithelial polarity, adhesion, and invasiveness within the tumor? Does the epigenetic heterogeneity in tumor stem cells that arises from local variations in the stroma contribute to subsequent genetic heterogeneity within cancers? What is the importance of immune cell cross talk with stem cells in wound repair versus cancer? As the group answers these questions experimentally, they will continue to uncover new links to understanding the process of wound repair, as well as tumor progression and metastasis.

Past WHF Thomas K Hunt Endowed Lecture Speakers are:

2017 Napoleone Ferrara, M.D.
University of California, San Diego
Anti-Angiogenic Therapy: From Bench To Clinic
View Lecturer Bio and 2017 Presentation
2016 Robert Langer, Sc.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Biomaterials and biotechnology: From the discovery of the first angiogenesis inhibitors to the development of controlled drug delivery systems and the foundation of tissue engineering
View Lecturer Bio
2015 Leroy Hood, MD, PhD.
Institute for Systems Biology
Proactive P4 Medicine: Catalyzing a Revolution in Healthcare through a Longitudinal, Digital-Age 100,000 Person Wellness Project
View Lecturer Bio
2014 Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., presented by Jordan A. Krall, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Tumor stromal interactions and malignant progression
View Lecturer Bio
2013 Thomas K Hunt, MD
Professor Emeritus, University of California San Francisco
Lactate, Oxygen and Wound Healing
View Lecturer Bio