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Nora Disis
May 29, 2024

Nora Disis gives American Cancer Society keynote address

She was the keynote speaker at the 2024 ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer symposium.
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Dr. Mary (Nora) Disis, professor (Hematology and Oncology) and director of the UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute, was invited as the keynote speaker for the American Cancer Society (ACS) 2024 ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer Symposium.


ResearchHERS is a campaign that empowers women by raising funds to sustain women-led cancer research, bolster the careers of women researchers, and support a more robust pipeline of those leaders in cancer research.

Disis is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor who was first funded by the ACS in 1990 when she was a fellow. She talked about “being on the rollercoaster of science” her entire career: from not knowing 30 years ago if the immune system could recognize cancer to making cancer immunotherapy standard care today.

But what was most surprising for her about this career was the importance of networking, especially as a woman.

“Who you know matters as much as what you know,” she said. “And trying to figure out who you should get to know was very difficult.”

She spoke for women in science to make the time to network with each other. She also said we need to lift each other by collaborating, not competing.

“We all need to prioritize and make sure every woman in the room has a voice and a place at the table. So I challenge all of you here to start your network. Make a circle on a piece of paper and figure out who is in it now and who you need in it.”