President Lyndon Johnson accepting the special Albert Lasker Award for Leadership in Health.
|Awarded for||Medical Science|
|Hosted by||Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation|
|Basic(2019)||Max Dale Cooper |
|Clinical(2019)||H. Michael Shepard |
Dennis J. Slamon
|Public Service(2019)||Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance|
The Lasker Awards have been awarded annually since 1945 to living persons who have made major contributions to medical science or who have performed public service on behalf of medicine. They are administered by the Lasker Foundation, founded by Albert Lasker and his wife Mary Woodard Lasker (later a medical research activist). The awards are sometimes referred to as America's Nobels.
Lasker Award has gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize. Eighty-six Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 32 in the last two decades.Claire Pomeroy is the current President of the Foundation.
The award is given in four branches of Medical sciences:
The awards carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category.
A collection of papers from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation were donated to the National Library of Medicine by Mrs. Albert D. Lasker in April 1985.
In addition to the main awards, there are historical awards that are no longer awarded.
Recent winners include the following:
|2019||Basic||Max Dale Cooper||For their discovery of the two distinct classes of lymphocytes, B and T cells – a monumental achievement that provided the organizing principle of the adaptive immune system and launched the course of modern immunology.|
|Clinical||H. Michael Shepard||For their invention of Herceptin, the first monoclonal antibody that blocks a cancer-causing protein, and for its development as a life-saving therapy for women with breast cancer.|
|Dennis J. Slamon|
|Public Service||Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance||For providing sustained access to childhood vaccines around the globe, saving millions of lives, and for highlighting the power of immunization to prevent disease.|
|2018||Basic||C. David Allis||For discoveries elucidating how gene expression is influenced by chemical modification of histones—the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes.|
|Clinical||John B. Glen||For the discovery and development of propofol, a chemical whose rapid action and freedom from residual effects have made it the most widely used agent for induction of anesthesia in patients throughout the world.|
|Special Achievement||Joan Argetsinger Steitz||For four decades of leadership in biomedical science—exemplified by pioneering discoveries in RNA biology, generous mentorship of budding scientists, and vigorous and passionate support of women in science.|
|2017||Basic||Michael N. Hall||For discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.|
|Clinical||Douglas R. Lowy||For technological advances that enabled development of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses.|
|John T. Schiller|
|Public Service||Planned Parenthood||For providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.|
|2016||Basic||William G. Kaelin, Jr.||For the discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability – a process essential for survival.|
|Peter J. Ratcliffe|
|Gregg L. Semenza|
|Clinical||Ralf F. W. Bartenschlager||For development of a system to study the replication of the virus that causes hepatitis C and for use of this system to revolutionize the treatment of this chronic, often lethal disease.|
|Charles M. Rice|
|Michael J. Sofia|
|Special Achievement||Bruce M. Alberts||For fundamental discoveries in DNA replication and protein biochemistry; for visionary leadership in directing national and international scientific organizations to better people’s lives; and for passionate dedication to improving education in science and mathematics.|
|2015||Basic||Stephen J. Elledge||For discoveries concerning the DNA-damage response—a fundamental mechanism that protects the genomes of all living organisms.|
|Evelyn M. Witkin|
|Clinical||James P. Allison||For the discovery and development of a monoclonal antibody therapy that unleashes the immune system to combat cancer.|
|Public Service||Médecins Sans Frontières||For bold leadership in responding to the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa and for sustained and effective frontline responses to health emergencies.|
|2014||Basic||Kazutoshi Mori||For discoveries concerning the unfolded protein response — an intracellular quality control system that detects harmful misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and signals the nucleus to carry out corrective measures.|
|Clinical||Alim-Louis Benabid||For the development of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, a surgical technique that reduces tremors and restores motor function in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.|
|Mahlon R. DeLong|
|Special Achievement||Mary-Claire King||For bold, imaginative, and diverse contributions to medical science and human rights — she discovered the BRCA1 gene locus that causes hereditary breast cancer and deployed DNA strategies that reunite missing persons or their remains with their families.|
|2013||Basic||Richard H. Scheller||For discoveries concerning the molecular machinery and regulatory mechanism that underlie the rapid release of neurotransmitters.|
|Thomas C. Südhof|
|Clinical||Graeme M. Clark||For the development of the modern cochlear implant — a device that bestows hearing to individuals with profound deafness.|
|Blake S. Wilson|
|Public Service||Bill Gates||For leading a historic transformation in the way we view the globe's most pressing health concerns and improving the lives of millions of the world's most vulnerable.|
|2012||Basic||Michael Sheetz||For discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins, machines that move cargoes within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements.|
|Clinical||Roy Calne||For the development of liver transplantation, which has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease.|
|Special Achievement||Donald D. Brown||For exceptional leadership and citizenship in biomedical science — exemplified by fundamental discoveries concerning the nature of genes; by selfless commitment to young scientists; and by disseminating revolutionary technologies to the scientific community.|
|2011||Basic||Franz-Ulrich Hartl||For discoveries concerning the cell's protein-folding machinery, exemplified by cage-like structures that convert newly made proteins into their biologically active forms.|
|Arthur L. Horwich|
|Clinical||Tu Youyou||For the discovery of artemisinin, a drug therapy for malaria that has saved millions of lives across the globe, especially in the developing world.|
|Public Service||National Institutes of Health Clinical Center||For serving, since its inception, as a model research hospital—providing innovative therapy and high-quality patient care, treating rare and severe diseases, and producing outstanding physician-scientists whose collective work has set a standard of excellence in biomedical research.|
|2010||Basic||Douglas L. Coleman||Discovery of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight—a breakthrough that opened obesity research to molecular exploration.|
|Jeffrey M. Friedman|
|Clinical||Napoleone Ferrara||Discovery of VEGF as a major mediator of angiogenesis and the development of an effective anti-VEGF therapy for wet macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.|
|Special Achievement||David Weatherall||For 50 years of international statesmanship in biomedical science—exemplified by discoveries concerning genetic diseases of the blood and for leadership in improving clinical care for thousands of children with thalassemia throughout the developing world.|
|2009||Basic||John Gurdon||Discoveries concerning nuclear reprogramming, the process that instructs specialized adult cells to form early stem cells—creating the potential to become any type of mature cell for experimental or therapeutic purposes.|
|Clinical||Brian Druker||The development of molecularly-targeted treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia, converting a fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition.|
|Public Service||Michael Bloomberg||Employing sound science in political decision making; setting a world standard for the public's health as an impetus for government action; leading the way to reduce the scourge of tobacco use; and advancing public health through enlightened philanthropy.|
|2008||Basic||Victor Ambros||Discoveries that revealed an unanticipated world of tiny RNAs that regulate gene function in plants and animals.|
|Clinical||Akira Endo||The discovery of the statins—drugs with remarkable LDL-cholesterol-lowering properties that have revolutionized the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease.|
|Special Achievement||Stanley Falkow||A 51-year career as one of the great microbe hunters of all time—he discovered the molecular nature of antibiotic resistance, revolutionized the way we think about how pathogens cause disease, and mentored more than 100 students, many of whom are now distinguished leaders in the fields of microbiology and infectious diseases.|
|2007||Basic||Ralph Steinman||The discovery of dendritic cells—the preeminent component of the immune system that initiates and regulates the body's response to foreign antigens.|
|Clinical||Alain Carpentier||The development of prosthetic mitral and aortic valves, which have prolonged and enhanced the lives of millions of people with heart disease.|
|Public Service||Anthony Fauci||For his role as the principal architect of two major U.S. governmental programs, one aimed at AIDS and the other at biodefense.|
|2006||Basic||Elizabeth Blackburn||The prediction and discovery of telomerase, a remarkable RNA-containing enzyme that synthesizes the ends of chromosomes, protecting them and maintaining the integrity of the genome|
|Clinical||Aaron Beck||The development of cognitive therapy, which has transformed the understanding and treatment of many psychiatric conditions, including depression, suicidal behavior, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders.|
|Special Achievement||Joseph Gall||A distinguished 57-year career—as a founder of modern cell biology and the field of chromosome structure and function; bold experimentalist; inventor of in situ hybridization; and early champion of women in science.|
|2005||Basic||Ernest McCulloch||Ingenious experiments that first identified a stem cell—the blood-forming stem cell—which set the stage for all current research on adult and embryonic stem cells.|
|Clinical||Alec John Jeffreys||Development of two powerful technologies—Southern hybridization and DNA fingerprinting—that together revolutionized human genetics and forensic diagnostics.|
|Edwin Mellor Southern|
|Public Service||Nancy Brinker||For creating one of the world's great foundations devoted to curing breast cancer and for dramatically increasing public awareness about this devastating disease.|
|2004||Basic||Pierre Chambon||For the discovery of the superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors and elucidation of a unifying mechanism that regulates embryonic development and diverse metabolic pathways.|
|Ronald M. Evans|
|Elwood V. Jensen|
|Clinical||Charles Kelman||For revolutionizing the surgical removal of cataracts, turning a 10-day hospital stay into an outpatient procedure, and dramatically reducing complications.|
|Special Achievement||Matthew Meselson||For a lifetime career that combines penetrating discovery in molecular biology with creative leadership in the public policy of chemical and biological weapons.|
|2003||Basic||Robert G. Roeder||Pioneering studies on eukaryotic RNA polymerases and the general transcriptional machinery, which opened gene expression in animal cells to biochemical analysis.|
|Clinical||Marc Feldmann||Discovery of anti-TNF therapy as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.|
|Ravinder N. Maini|
|Public Service||Christopher Reeve||Perceptive, sustained, and heroic advocacy for medical research in general, and victims of disability in particular.|
|2002||Basic||James E. Rothman||Discoveries revealing the universal molecular machinery that orchestrates the budding and fusion of membrane vesicles—a process essential to organelle formation, nutrient uptake, and secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters.|
|Randy W. Schekman|
|Clinical||Willem J. Kolff||Development of renal hemodialysis, which changed kidney failure from a fatal to a treatable disease, prolonging the useful lives of millions of patients.|
|Belding H. Scribner|
|Special Achievement||James E. Darnell, Jr.||For an exceptional career in biomedical science during which he opened two fields in biology—RNA processing and cytokine signaling—and fostered the development of many creative scientists.|
|2001||Basic||Mario R. Capecchi||Development of a powerful technology for manipulating the mouse genome with exquisite precision, which allows the creation of animal models of human disease.|
|Martin J. Evans|
|Clinical||Robert G. Edwards||Development of in vitro fertilization, a technological advance that has revolutionized the treatment of human infertility.|
|Public Service||William H. Foege||For courageous leadership in improving worldwide public health, and his prominent role in the eradication of smallpox.|
|2000||Basic||Aaron Ciechanover||For the discovery and recognition of the broad significance of the ubiquitin system of regulated protein degradation, a fundamental process that influences vital cellular events, including the cell cycle, malignant transformation, and responses to inflammation and immunity.|
|Clinical||Harvey J. Alter||Discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C and the development of screening methods that reduced the risk of blood transfusion-associated hepatitis in the U.S. from 30% in 1970 to virtually zero in 2000.|
|Special Achievement||Sydney Brenner||For 50 years of brilliant creativity in biomedical science—exemplified by his legendary work on the genetic code; his daring introduction of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a system for tracing the birth and death of every cell in a living animal; his rational voice in the debate on recombinant DNA; and his trenchant wit.|
Awards no longer made include Special Public Health Awards, Special Awards, Group Awards, and Lasker Awards made by the International Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, the National Committee Against Mental Illness, and Planned Parenthood - World Population.Awards were also presented for medical journalism.
Michael Ellis DeBakey was a Lebanese-American cardiac surgeon and vascular surgeon, scientist, and medical educator who became the chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, director of The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, and senior attending surgeon of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, with a career spanning 75 years.
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow was an American medical physicist, and a co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for development of the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. She was the second woman, and the first American-born woman, to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.
Anthony Stephen "Tony" Fauci is an American immunologist who has made substantial contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiencies, both as a scientist and as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Joseph Leonard Goldstein ForMemRS is an American biochemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1985, along with fellow University of Texas Southwestern researcher, Michael Brown, for their studies regarding cholesterol. They discovered that human cells have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that remove cholesterol from the blood and that when LDL receptors are not present in sufficient numbers, individuals develop hypercholesterolemia and become at risk for cholesterol related diseases, notably coronary heart disease. Their studies led to the development of statin drugs.
The Albert Lasker Special Achievement Award is one of the four Lasker Awards given by the Lasker Foundation for medical research in the United States. The first award was given in 1994; it is not awarded every year. In 2008, the award was renamed the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science in honor of Daniel E. Koshland, Jr..
Paul Grant Rogers was an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Florida. A Democrat, Rogers served in the U.S. House of Representatives as the member from Florida's 11th congressional district. He was chairman of Research America from 1996 to 2005.
Thomas Earl Starzl was an American physician, researcher, and expert on organ transplants. He performed the first human liver transplants, and has often been referred to as "the father of modern transplantation."
Mary Woodard Lasker was an American health activist and philanthropist. She worked to raise funds for medical research, and founded the Lasker Foundation.
Maimonides Medical Center is a non-profit, non-sectarian hospital located in Borough Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, in the U.S. state of New York. Maimonides is both a treatment facility and academic medical center with 711 beds, and more than 70 primary care and sub-specialty programs. As of August 1, 2016, Maimonides Medical Center was an adult and pediatric trauma center, and Brooklyn's only pediatric trauma center.
Harvey James Alter is an American medical researcher, virologist, and physician who is best known for his work that led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Alter is the chief of the infectious disease section and the associate director for research of the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the mid-1970s, Alter and his research team demonstrated that most post-transfusion hepatitis cases were not due to hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses. Working independently, Alter and Edward Tabor, a scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, proved through transmission studies in chimpanzees that a new form of hepatitis, initially called “non-A, non-B hepatitis” caused the infections, and that the causative agent was probably a virus. This work eventually led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus in 1988.
Alexander Jacob Varshavsky is a Russian-American biochemist, noted for his discovery of the N-end rule of ubiquitination. A native of Moscow, he is currently researching at Caltech.
The Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, known until 2009 as the Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award, is awarded by the Lasker Foundation to honor an individual or organization whose public service has profoundly enlarged the possibilities for medical research and the health sciences and their impact on the health of the public. The award, worth $250,000, is presented in odd-numbered years to a winner selected from among policy makers, journalists, philanthropists, advocates, scientists, and public health professionals. It is named after the philanthropists Albert Lasker and Michael R. Bloomberg.
The United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) is a grant-awarding institution that promotes collaborative research in a wide range of basic and applied scientific disciplines, established in 1972 by an agreement between the governments of the United States and Israel. Numerous scientists participating in BSF programs have won prestigious awards such as the Nobel, Lasker and Wolf prizes. The Foundation grant recipients include 43 Nobel Prize laureates, 19 winners of the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, and 38 recipients of the Wolf Prize.
Dr. Curtis Gordon Hames Sr. was a family physician and pioneer in the epidemologic study of heart disease and stroke.
George Q. Daley, is the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. He was formerly the Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Associate Director of Children’s Stem Cell Program, a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He is a past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2007–2008).
Michael Nip Hall is an American and Swiss molecular biologist and Professor at the Biozentrum University of Basel, Switzerland.
Max Dale Cooper, ForMemRS, is an American immunologist and Professor of Pathology at Emory University known for identifying T cells and B cells.
Douglas R. Lowy is the Acting Director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology within the Center for Cancer Research at NCI. Lowy previously served as Acting Director of NCI between April 2015-October 2017. On April 8, 2019, he again became Acting Director as Director Norman Sharpless transitioned to serve as the Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Lowy served as Deputy Director of the NCI since 2015, alongside former directors Harold E. Varmus and Sharpless. Lowy was co-recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2014 and the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2017.
Gregg Leonard Semenza is an American Nobel Laureate who is the professor of pediatrics, radiation oncology, biological chemistry, medicine, and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He serves as the director of the vascular program at the Institute for Cell Engineering. He is a 2016 recipient of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. He is known for his discovery of HIF-1, which allows cancer cells to adapt to oxygen-poor environments. He shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability" with William Kaelin Jr. and Peter J. Ratcliffe.
William G. Kaelin Jr. is an American biologist and physician. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard University. His laboratory studies tumor suppressor proteins. In 2016, Kaelin received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the AACR Princess Takamatsu Award. He also won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019 along with Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza.