Cancer researcher Dr. Zena Werb dies

Zena Werb, PhD, a renowned researcher in the field of cancer biology, has died at the age of 75, the University of California San Francisco announced July 2.

Dr. Werb, who died June 16, was a professor in the department of anatomy at UCSF and associate director for basic science at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She worked at UCSF for 40 years, during which time she focused her research on understanding breast cancer metastasis, including developing new approaches to identifying metastatic cancers and potentially halting the spread of these cancers.

She was an elected fellow of the American Association of Cancer Research, a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and past president of the American Society of Cell Biology.

Dr. Werb was a dedicated mentor of younger scientists, and in 2015, she received UCSF's Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring.

"Zena was scientifically fearless," said Valerie Weaver, PhD, professor of surgery and director of the UCSF Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration and one of Dr. Werb's closest collaborators and friends. "Zena constantly reinvented herself and her lab to follow the data wherever it led, picking up new techniques as needed and perfectly willing to jettison received wisdom whenever it was contradicted by new discoveries."

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