Mary-Claire King is the American Cancer Society Professor in the Departments of Genome Sciences and Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. She was the first to show that breast and ovarian cancer is inherited in some families as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. This discovery has transformed the diagnosis, drug development, and treatment of this inherited form of breast cancer.
More recently, Dr. King has focused on the genetics of schizophrenia, contributing to the understanding of complex disease inheritance. In 2014, Dr. King received the Lasker Special Achievement Award for Medical Research and in 2016, the United States National Medal of Science. Dr. King is also recognized as a pioneer in the development of DNA sequencing for human rights investigations.