Distinguished Service Awards

Distinguished Service Awards

Each year, the IASLC's honors professionals who have made major contributions to the field of thoracic cancers with its Distinguished Awards. 

Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award

The Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement of scientific contributions to thoracic cancer research. Dr. Paul Bunn’s studies set worldwide standards for the treatment of lung cancer and identified issues of natural history and biomarkers of prognosis and therapy selection. Robert Ginsberg, MD, a thoracic surgeon from Toronto, Canada, earned the first award in 1994 for his contributions to the surgical treatment of early stage lung cancer. Initially named the Scientific Award, the IASLC renamed the award in honor of Dr. Bunn after he served as its executive director and CEO for 10 years.

Charles Rudin


Dr. Rudin is the Sylvia Hassenfeld Professor and Chief of Thoracic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where he also co-directs the Druckenmiller Center for Lung Cancer Research. Dr. Rudin oversees a broad and integrated program of preclinical and clinical research in lung cancer, spanning from basic discovery science, preclinical modeling and novel therapeutic target identification, first-in-human phase I clinical testing, through leadership of definitive national and international phase III studies.

Dr. Rudin has a particular interest in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and chairs the National Cancer Institute (NCI) SCLC Research Consortium, a national network of investigators studying SCLC oncogenesis, mouse and human preclinical modeling, genomic and epigenetic drivers, and therapeutic vulnerabilities. He also serves as the MSK PI for two Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) grants, one focused on epigenetics and the other on KRAS targeting in lung cancer.

IASLC Merit Award

The Merit Award, established in 1991, is given to an IASLC member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the development of the organization.



Born in Osaka in 1957, Dr. Hisao Asamura graduated from Keio University School of Medicine in 1983. he interned at the Keio University Hospital and affiliated hospitals, and completed a residency in general surgery and a clinical fellowship in thoracic surgery at the National Cancer Center Hospital (1986-1991). He was the attending surgeon (thoracic surgery, 1992-1998), Chief of Thoracic Surgery (1992-2014), and Deputy Director-Hospital (2012-2014) at the National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo.

Currently, Dr. Asamura is a Professor of Surgery, Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Keio University School of Medicine (2014-present). He was a visiting professor at the Kyorin University in Tokyo (2007-2013) and at the Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea (1999-present). Dr. Asamura also completed a Doctor of Medical Science degree from Keio University in 1997.

He is the Chair of the IASLC's Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee (SPFC, 2016-present). He also served as Executive Board Director (2012-2016) and as a  Congress President for IASLC 2017 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Yokohama 2017. Finally, he is a Vice President of the Japan Lung Cancer Society, National Committee Chair and Section Editor of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

Mary J. Matthews Pathology/Translational Research Award

The Mary J. Matthews Pathology/Translational Research Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement in pathology and translational research of thoracic malignancies. Dr. Matthews served as a senior investigator and pathologist at the National Cancer Institute’s Medical Oncology Branch. She was pioneer in the foundation of the histologic subtypes of lung cancer and the relationship between those subtypes and the clinical course of lung cancer. Geno Saccommano, MD, PhD, a physician and cancer researcher who dedicated his life to developing a pioneering technique to assist in the early detection of lung cancer was the first to receive the award in 1994.



Prof. Nicholson trained in medicine at Oxford University and St. Bartholomew’s Medical School and then specialized in pathology, specifically thoracic pathology, and trained under Professor Bryan Corrin at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London. He has worked there as a consultant since 1995, and as Honorary Professor in Respiratory Pathology, at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London since 2002. As well as being the lead for local thoracic pathology, he is referred over 300 cases each year, mainly cancer related, from clinicians and other pathologists both nationally and internationally. His research interests are thoracic cancers - common and rare lung cancers, mesotheliomas, thymic tumours - as well other thoracic diseases such as interstitial lung disease, and he has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers. In relation to thoracic cancers, he is particularly interested in translational research. He is a Past Chair of the IASLC Pathology Panel, and has been a long-standing member of the IASLC Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee. He has also sat on the IASLC Membership Committee. He was on the Specialist Advisory Panel for the Royal College of Pathologists, UK, for the past decade and is President Elect of the British Division of the International Academy of Pathologists. He has also co-authored Pathology of the Lung, second and third editions (Churchill Livingstone 2006 and 2011) with Bryan Corrin, was a Volume Editor of the 2015 WHO classification of lung, pleura, thymus and heart tumours and is an author of the AFIP Atlas of Tumor Pathology: Tumors of the Lower Respiratory Tract (2019).

Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award

The Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award recognizes an IASLC scientist for a lifetime achievement in the prevention of thoracic malignancies. Dr. Cullen served as the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. He created the Smoking, Tobacco and Cancer Program at the NCI in 1982. The winner of the first award in 1994 was Jesse Steinfeld, MD, the U.S. Surgeon General when the National Cancer Act of 1971 was enacted into federal law.



Denise R. Aberle, MD, is Professor of Radiology and Bioengineering at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She has been Vice Chair for Research in Radiological Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA for 19 years. She previously served as President of the Society of Thoracic Radiology, Chair of the Lung Committee of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), Deputy Chair of ACRIN, and co-chair of the Early Diagnosis and Detection Committee of ECOGACRIN. She is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) and has received awards from the IASLC, the UCLA Clinical Translational Science Institute, the American Lung Association, ACRIN, the Society of Thoracic Radiology, and others for her work in the early detection of lung cancer. From 2000 to 2012, Dr. Aberle led the National Lung Screening Trial-ACRIN as principal investigator. Dr. Aberle obtained her medical degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center and completed a residency in internal medicine at Boston University Hospital (1980-1982), thereafter completing a residency in diagnostic radiology at UCLA. She completed fellowship training in thoracic imaging at the University of California San Francisco in 1987 before returning to UCLA to head the Thoracic Imaging Section. Her current research focuses on characterizing indeterminate lung nodules and early lung cancers using semantic, quantitative, and machine learning techniques in combination with clinical and molecular features.