Robert Koch Prize

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The Robert Koch Medal and Award are two prizes awarded annually for excellence in the biomedical sciences. These awards grew out of early attempts by Robert Koch to generate funding to support his research into the cause and cure for tuberculosis. Koch discovered the bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) responsible for the dreaded disease and rapidly acquired international support, including 500,000 gold marks from the Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The Koch Prize[edit]

Since 1970, the Koch Foundation has awarded prizes for major advances in the biomedical sciences, particularly in the fields of microbiology and immunology. The prestige of this award has grown over the past decades so that it is now widely regarded as the leading international scientific prize in microbiology. As has been described by a jury member for the prize, the committee often asks, What would Robert Koch work on today?” to decide on research that should be granted recognition.

The more specific Koch Prize is commonly considered one of the stepping-stones (along with other prizes such as the Lasker Award) to eventual Nobel Prize recognition for scientists in the fields of microbiology and immunology, and a number of Koch Prize winners subsequently became Nobel laureates, such as César Milstein, Susumu Tonegawa and Harald zur Hausen. Other notable awardees include Albert Sabin, Jonas Salk and John Enders for their pioneering work on the development of polio vaccines. Only Enders was recognized with a Nobel Prize, together with Thomas Huckle Weller and Frederick Chapman Robbins.

Two separate Robert Koch Awards are presented annually: The Gold Koch Medallion for accumulated excellence in biomedical research and the Koch Prize, 100,000, for a major discovery in biomedical science.

Koch Prize Winners since 1970[edit]

Koch Gold Medal winners since 1960[edit]

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