The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently held a research symposium to honor the remarkable career of Daret St. Clair, PhD, who is retiring after 32 years of dedicated service.

Beginning her career at UK in 1991, St. Clair’s research has had a profound impact on understanding the role of free radicals in cancer, with her groundbreaking studies elevating the field of redox biology to a critical area of cancer research.

St. Clair, a professor in the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, has influenced the careers of countless colleagues, collaborators and trainees, many of whom attended and presented at the symposium at Gatton Student Center Dec. 8.

The event featured research presentations from colleagues and collaborators including Doug Spitz, PhD, (University of Iowa) Ines Batinic-Haberle, PhD, (Duke University), Phyllis Dennery, MD, (Brown University), Becky Oberley-Deegan, PhD, (University of Nebraska Medical Center), and Markey Cancer Center researchers Luksana Chaiswing, PhD, and Peter Zhou, MD, PhD.

"Dr. St. Clair's impact on the field of cancer research is immeasurable. Her pioneering research has laid the groundwork for countless discoveries and opened new avenues for therapeutic development. We are fortunate to have had her leadership of our basic science programs for so many years," said Markey Cancer Center Director B. Mark Evers, MD. “As Dr. St. Clair embarks on this new chapter, her influence will continue to shape the field and inspire future generations of cancer researchers for years to come.”

St. Clair's career is marked by her influential work on the role of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in cancer development and therapy. Her research team of 23 graduate students and 15 postdoctoral fellows, has resolved long-debated questions about MnSOD expression in cancer and demonstrated that its presence inversely regulates the induction and progression of the disease. These are fundamental contributions to the understanding that cancer cells experience higher oxidative stress.

St. Clair began her career at UK as an assistant professor in 1991, rising to full professor in 1999. Since 2002, she has held the James Graham Brown Foundation Endowed Chair. She has also served as the associate director for basic research at Markey and as co-director of the UK Center for Excellence in Cancer and Metabolism.

St. Clair has been recognized with numerous accolades, including the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine.