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Elizabeth Ann Wayner, Class of 1972, Inducted in 2007

Flashback to a girl of eight riding with her family in the car. Her eye is drawn to a billboard above Scibila’s flower/vegetable stand near the intersection of Genesee Street and Erie Boulevard. The pointed red sword with the twisted twin-serpent caduceus next to the words American Cancer Society had hit a mark. Liz Wayner turned to her mother and declared that she wanted to be doctor so she could help fight cancer.

That declaration stuck. Beside her yearbook picture are the words…future as a doctor. Now as Dr. Elizabeth Wayner, she is Director of Antibody Development, CD-152 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Guided by her persistence, determination, and intellect, her research has allowed her to participate in the fight. In 1988 she proposed a controversial idea that could explain how immune cells cause dangerous inflammation behind many incurable auto-immune diseases. With further research she developed an antibody that would interfere with the T-cell’s ability to bind to blood-vessel linings. She holds two antibody patents. The drug, finally marketed in 2005 as Tysabri "®

With that guided focus, her work continues today in a laboratory dedicated to the development and characterization of monoclonal antibodies. Liz enjoys research. “It is work that uses my mind and that I find stimulating. And of course, when you can directly see the contribution and how it helps people - that is most rewarding.”

Again, flashback to third grade at Mott Road where her class studied Australia; “One day, I will go there,” she said. She remembers an earth science teacher at Wellwood, a trigonometry teacher, and Mrs. Bond the music teacher at the high school offering support and encouragement to pursue her passions, singing and science.

She sang in the Choraliers, volunteered as a candy striper, and with a father as a Professor of neurophysiology at Syracuse University, she had a job in the brain research lab. Upon graduating, she attended St. Lawrence University, earning a B.S. Magna Cum Laude with Special Honors in Biological Sciences. And then, she went to Australia. From LaTrobe University in Melbourne she holds a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences.

Outside of several years spent as a post-doctoral fellow in the UK and as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, she has called Seattle home. But throughout, her focus on cell immunology has remained.

She’s been the recipient of major grants from the DOD, National Institute of Health, American Cancer Society and the Leukemia Society Task Force and serves as a peer reviewer for, among others, the Immunology Committee of the American Cancer Society, and is an editorial reviewer for Cell Adhesion and Communication; Nature; Journal of Cell Biology; Journal of Biological Chemistry; Journal of Immunology; Journal of Clinical Investigation; and Blood.

While Liz misses the sometimes snow in Syracuse, she loves the Pacific Northwest and enjoys hiking, kayaking, and wildflower photography. “I like to cook and read, and I’m a fanatic about going to the gym,” she says of the day-to-day life she shares with her husband, Steven Daily.     

Her son is a student studying architecture in Colorado. Her father, at 80, is still engaged in neurophysiology in Texas, but her brother, Tim lives in Fayetteville in the same house in which they grew up. And while the billboard near Scibila’s no longer exists, the vision it created in the mind of an eight-year-old continues to guide the work of a research doctor.

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