Halina Brukner,MD & Michelle Le Beau,PhD- 2021 Gold Key Recipients

Halina Brukner, MD, Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) and Dean for Medical Education, and Michelle Le Beau, PhD , the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor (Hematology/Oncology), have been selected as recipients of the Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association’s  2021 Gold Key Award in recognition of their many years service to the Department of Medicine, Biological Sciences Division and The University of Chicago.

Dr. Brukner has served the University of Chicago, the BSD, the Department of Medicine and the Section of General Internal Medicine for 35 years as an outstanding clinician, educator and leader.  She completed her medical school education at New York University School of Medicine and her residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago in 1982.  She joined the faculty of the Section of General Internal Medicine in 1985, and served as clerkship director for internal medicine for 13 years (1986-1999). In this role, Dr. Brukner developed innovative programs in improving skills to give effective feedback and has been recognized for her innovations by the Society of General Internal Medicine. She also served as Director of the University of Chicago Primary Care Group (1995-1999) and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine (1999-2004). In the latter role, she oversaw academic appointments and promotions for faculty.

In 2004, Dr. Brukner was appointed as Associate Dean for Medical School Education where she guided the implementation of an innovative new curriculum: the Pritzker Initiative for the 21st Century. As Associate Dean, she was responsible for all aspects of curricular and academic issues in the medical school, overseeing courses and clerkships, supporting faculty, and managing student academic advancement through the Committee on Academic Promotions, the Curriculum Review Committees, and more. In this role, she provided ongoing support and counseling for students as they moved through the curriculum, both for classes as a whole and for individual students.

Dr. Brukner is also the founding Director of the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators, established in 2005, to support and promote research, innovation, and scholarship in medical education at the University of Chicago. In this role, she planned and led Pritzker’s annual Medical Education Day and worked with her team to develop initiatives aimed at strengthening teaching scholarship, such as the Teaching Consultation Service, the Faculty Advancing in Medical Education series, the awarding of medical education grants, and the recognition of outstanding teachers through election to the Academy.

In May 2019, Dr. Brukner was appointed as the Dean for Medical Education at the Pritzker School of Medicine, where she is responsible for the entire continuum of medical education at the University of Chicago, including the Pritzker School of Medicine, residencies and fellowships, continuing medical education and medical simulation.

Dr. Brukner will retire from the faculty on June 30, 2021.

Dr. LeBeau has served the University of Chicago, the BSD, the Department of Medicine and the Section of Hematology/Oncology for 40 years as an outstanding scientist and leader.

Dr. Le Beau arrived at the University of Chicago in 1981 as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Janet Rowley’s laboratory. In 1983 she was hired as a research associate in the Section of Hematology/Oncology.  In 1986 she was appointed to the faculty  rising to the rank of tenured professor in 1997.  In 2004 Dr. Le Beau was named as the director of the University of Chicago Cancer Center.  In 2011 she was named as the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor.  Dr. Le Beau also serves as Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory, a CLIA-approved and CAP-certified cancer diagnostics laboratory.

Dr. Le Beau is a tireless champion of cancer research and a leading authority in leukemia and lymphoma. Her entire career has been dedicated to the cytogenetic and molecular analysis of the hematological malignancies.  Her groundbreaking research led to the discovery of several distinct genetic subtypes of therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome, a precursor to leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia. She has been recognized for her work in identifying recurring cytogenetic abnormalities, in defining the genetic subsets of leukemia, in identifying the genetic pathways that lead to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN), and on the application of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for clinical diagnostics and gene mapping. In this regard, she was appointed as the cancer genetics expert for MDS and myeloid neoplasms for the 2008 and 2015 revisions of the WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues.  She has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, and has been continuously funded by the NCI since 1986.

Dr. Le Beau led the University of Chicago’s Comprehensive Cancer Center as director for the past 17 years where she oversaw reorganization of research programs aimed at discovering mechanisms that trigger cancer, as well as prevention and treatment strategies, education and outreach program; and obtained the “Comprehensive” designation from the National Cancer Institute, which is the highest ranking awarded by the NCI, and one of 49 in the USA, and 1 of only 2 in the state of Illinois.  She also developed a strategic plan for the center for optimal use of its talent and resources and has fostered the careers and training of dozens of young scientists.

Dr. Le Beau has served as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (2012-2014), member of the executive committee of the American Society of Hematology (2014-2017), and member of the World Health Organization Clinical Advisory Committee (2014-2017). She is currently a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine, the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, and the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute. In June 2018, Dr. Le Beau was presented with the Department of Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2020 she was honored with 2020 Henry M. Stratton Medal from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research.

Dr. Le Beau will retire from the faculty on 5/31/2021.

The Gold Key Award recognizes outstanding and loyal service to the Division of the Biological Sciences and to the University of Chicago. The Gold Key Award is given to faculty members who are at or nearing retirement and have demonstrated honor and commitment to the University of Chicago Medicine and/or the Division of the Biological Sciences throughout their tenure. The Award is presented by the Medical & Biological Sciences Alumni Association. Several faculty members from the Department of Medicine have been presented with the Gold Key Award . For a complete list click here