University of Vermont

Physician Careers

Lyden Receives Graduate Alumni Award

David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D.
Graduate Alumni Award winner David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D.’86

David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D.’86, a pediatric neuro-oncologist specializing in brain tumor biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, was recognized with the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award at a ceremony and reception held on October 24, 2012. He also presented a seminar, titled “Tumor-derived Exosomes Drive Pre-metastatic Niche Formation,” to the UVM College of Medicine community. The events were presented by the UVM Medical Alumni Association and the Vermont Cancer Center.

The Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award is presented to alumni from the College of Medicine’s Ph.D. or M.S. programs who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in basic, clinical or applied research; education; industry; public service/humanitarianism; and/or outstanding commitment to the College of Medicine community.

Lyden, who is the Stavros S. Nairchos Chair and Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is also a faculty member for the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Tri-Institute (Rockefeller University/ Weill Cornell Medical College/ Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center).  He has made several fundamental discoveries – published in such major journals as Nature, Nature Medicine, and Nature Reviews Cancer – that involve the role of bone marrow-derived stem and progenitor cells in tumor vasculogenesis – or blood vessel growth – and in cancer metastasis.

His laboratory at Weill Cornell studies the biology of medulloblastoma – the most common malignant brain tumor in children – and high-grade gliomas – tumors that originate in the brain or spine. He and his research team aim to gain an understanding of how cells in the environment around a tumor foster tumor growth. They have found that brain tumors may send out signals to make certain developing cells in the bone marrow multiply and travel to the brain to induce the formation of new blood vessels to feed brain tumors. Currently, they are working on the development of monoclonal antibodies to receptors on these bone marrow cells in order to gain a better understanding of how to target them with therapy and inhibit them.

Among Lyden’s many honors and awards are a 2003 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Brown University and a 2007 Leonard Weill Memorial Lecturer Award. His work was highlighted in “Nature Milestones: Cancer”. In 2007, he was awarded a Presidential Medical Distinction Bial Award by President Cavaco Silva of Portugal. Co-senior editor for Cancer Metastasis: Biologic Basis and Therapeutics, the first cancer metastasis textbook published by Cambridge University Press (April 2011), Lyden has been featured as one of fifteen cancer experts in the book Why Millions Survive Cancer: The Successes of Science (author: Lauren Pecorino, Oxford Univ. Press). He is also the recipient of the 2011 Duke University Residency Alumni Award and Lecture. Most recently, he was honored for his work in metastasis as recipient of the Inaugural I.J. “Josh” Fidler Innovation in Metastasis Research Award, given by the Metastasis Research Society and Anti-Cancer Inc., USA at the International Metastasis Research Society Meeting in Brisbane, Australia in September 2012.

Lyden received his medical degree from Brown University School of Medicine, his Ph.D. from the University of Vermont, and completed a residency in pediatrics at Duke University and fellowship in oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Lyden's research was recently featured in the Financial Times of London magazine. Read the article, titled "How to burst cancer's bubble."