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Thoracic Oncology Assembly Lifetime Achievement Award

Meet the 2023 Winner: Steven M. Dubinett, MD



Steven Dubinett became interested in lung cancer research while a pulmonary research fellow in the Department of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, more than 30-years ago. There he took part in the first clinical trial using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) to treat patients with cancer. While some of the patients with renal cancer and melanoma had very dramatic anti-tumor responses, the patients with lung cancer did not respond to the therapy. After moving in 1988 to UCLA, he began his research program focusing on understanding why lung cancer patients were not responding to immunotherapy. His research continues to focus on immunity and inflammation in the development of lung cancer. Recent studies address how the immune system recognizes the earliest phases of lung cancer. This research has been supported by the NCI Early Detection Research Network, the NCI Moonshot Human Tumor Atlas Network, the VA, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team with funding from the American Lung Association and LUNGevity. 

He served as the Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine, Clinical Immunology and Allergy at UCLA, and is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and now is the Interim Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and directs the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). He oversees the translation of biomedical discoveries into medical products and health interventions, and is responsible for the integration of the research infrastructure through the CTSI that includes a partnership with four Los Angeles medical centers. He served as the Executive Committee Chair of UC Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development (UC BRAID), which integrates clinical and translational research across the University of California CTSI sites. He chaired the FDA Cellular, Tissue & Gene Therapies Advisory Committee and has served on advisory committees and study sections for the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs. He has received awards for lung cancer investigation, including the American Lung Association Career Investigator Award and the Award for Scientific Achievement from the American Thoracic Society. He has trained a new generation of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty who have continued in academic or industry research careers. He is grateful and acknowledges all of his laboratory members, trainees and collaborators for their exceptional creativity leading to translational discoveries for patients with lung cancer.  


The award will be given to an individual who has made outstanding scientific contributions in clinical, translational, or laboratory-based research relevant to the field of thoracic oncology and/or exemplary service to the Assembly through education of the lung cancer community and program development. This award is intended for an established, internationally recognized individual with a record of sustained exemplary achievement in the areas of Assembly interest.

Nominees must be a TOA primary member. We encourage nominations of diverse nominees in all dimensions, including gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, geographic residence, country, area of focus and primary occupation. The nomination package must include a 1-page letter from a member of the Assembly describing the candidate’s scientific contributions, teaching/mentorship/educational contributions, and leadership in TOA and ATS activities and why the award is merited. The candidate’s curriculum vitae must also be included with the nomination packet.

Awardees will be recognized with a framed certificate at the annual TO Membership Meeting during the ATS International Conference.


  • Must be a TOA primary member
  • Must not have received a similar Lifetime Achievement award from TOA or another ATS Assembly


Applicants are scored on the following criteria using a 1-5 rating system (5 = best) across the following categories:

  • Scientific Contributions/ Products
  • Leadership in Assembly and ATS Activities (administrative, committees, workshop, document development, promoting diversity)
  • Teaching/ Mentoring/ Educational Contributions


Nominate Here


View Previous Award Recipients

2022 - Lynn Tanoue, MD, MBA
2021 -Pierre Massion, MD
2020 - Gerard A. Silvestri, MD
2019 - M. Patricia Rivera, MD
2018 - Michael K. Gould, MD, MS
2017 - Charles "Cap" Powell, MD
2016 - Frank C. Detterbeck, MD
2015 - James R. Jett, MD