(b. 1928)
Lynch syndrome, the most common cancer genetic syndrome, is characterized by a predisposition to colon and other cancers and was named after Dr. Lynch in honor of his early work pioneering the field of hereditary cancer detection. In the late 1960s, Dr. Lynch was joined by other cancer geneticists like Frederick Li and Joseph Fraumeni, and then by a small group of others in the 1970s and 1980s (Knudson, King, Ponder, Skolnik, Miki, Wooster et al), all of whom went on to discover that certain cancers were, indeed, hereditary. At first, their research was taken with skepticism, as most people still believed that all cancer was caused by environmental factors, which, of course were generally shared by families. It wasn’t until the 1990s that things turned around and the tiny field of cancer genetics, initiated by the persistence of Dr. Lynch, crystallized and started to grow.