CLAYTON PROFESSORSHIP IN ONCOLOGY
Established in 1993 by the Clayton Fund and by Benjamin Baker and his family

WILLIAM L. CLAYTON, university trustee emeritus and a former member of the SAIS Advisory Council, was a leader in business and international affairs. He served for many years as president of Anderson, Clayton and Company, a Texas-based cotton trading company. In addition, Mr. Clayton served as the first American under secretary of state for economic affairs, during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. In 1963, when Mr. Clayton was in his eighties, President John F. Kennedy asked him to work on the national export expansion program and nuclear test ban treaty. The Clayton family is one of Johns Hopkins Medicine's most generous benefactors. In 1947, Mr. Clayton, along with his wife, SUSAN VAUGHAN CLAYTON, established at Hopkins the Clayton Fund for Medical Research. In 1961, he established the William L. Clayton Professorship in International Economics at SAIS.

 

Image Credit: Alan M. Chesney Archives, Johns Hopkins Medicine Beginning in 1984, the income was redirected to support colon cancer initiatives, reflecting the interests of the Claytons' son-in-law, distinguished physician BENJAMIN BAKER, Med 1927. Gifts from Dr. Baker and his late wife, JULIA C. BAKER, and their family, along with a portion of the Clayton Fund, created the Clayton Professorship in Oncology. Colleagues called Dr. Baker a Renaissance physician and considered him to be a master diagnostician. An internist in private practice, he taught clinical medicine and physical diagnosis at Hopkins with the rank of professor. His early research focused on heart disease. Dr. Baker later turned his attention to pioneering work in colon cancer, establishing the Hopkins Bowel Tumor Working Group. In 1974, he was awarded an honorary degree by the university. In 1998, his family and friends established the Benjamin Baker Scholars program to assist young physician-scientists at Hopkins. Dr. Baker died in 2003 at the age of 101.

 

BERT VOGELSTEIN, the Clayton Professor of Oncology and a Howard Hughes Investigator, was the first to elucidate the molecular basis of a common human cancer. He and his colleagues have demonstrated that colorectal tumors result from the gradual accumulation of genetic alterations in specific oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. This discovery and the analysis of these genes and their functions represent a landmark in the application of molecular biology to the study of human disease. Dr. Vogelstein's work forms the paradigm for much of modern cancer research, with profound implications for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. According to the Institute for Scientific Information, Dr. Vogelstein is currently the most highly cited scientist in the world. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1978. In 2013 Dr. Vogelstein was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the world's richest academic prize for medicine and biology.