Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
|Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences|
|Awarded for||Research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.|
|Date||February 20, 2013|
The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences is a scientific award, funded by internet entrepreneurs: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan of Facebook; Sergey Brin of Google; entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner; and Anne Wojcicki, one of the founders of the genetics company 23andMe. The Chairman of the Board is Arthur D. Levinson of Apple.
The award of $3 million, the largest award in the sciences, is given to researchers who have made discoveries that extend human life. The Prize is awarded annually, beginning in 2013, with six awards given in each subsequent year. Winners are expected to give public lectures and form the committee to decide future winners. The ceremony takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the symposiums alternating between University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University.
Eleven inaugural laureates were announced in 2013. Each received $3,000,000.
- Cornelia I. Bargmann (Rockefeller University), for the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.
- David Botstein (Princeton University), for linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.
- Lewis C. Cantley (Harvard Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical College), for the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
- Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute), for describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.
- Titia de Lange (Rockefeller University), for research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer.
- Napoleone Ferrara (University of California, San Diego), for discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.
- Eric S. Lander (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Broad Institute), for the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease genes, and enabling their application to medicine through the creation and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome.
- Charles L. Sawyers (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), for cancer genes and targeted therapy.
- Robert A. Weinberg (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Whitehead Institute), for characterization of human cancer genes.
- Shinya Yamanaka (Kyoto University, J. David Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco), for induced pluripotent stem cells.
- Bert Vogelstein (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University), for cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.
The 2014 laureates were:
- James P. Allison (M. D. Anderson Cancer Center), for the discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective cancer therapy.
- Mahlon DeLong (Emory University), for defining the interlocking circuits in the brain that malfunction in Parkinson's disease. This scientific foundation underlies the circuit-based treatment of Parkinson's disease by deep brain stimulation.
- Michael N. Hall (Biozentrum University of Basel), for the discovery of Target of Rapamycin (TOR) and its role in cell growth control.
- Robert Langer (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), for discoveries leading to the development of controlled drug-release systems and new biomaterials.
- Richard P. Lifton (Yale University School of Medicine at Yale University), for the discovery of genes and biochemical mechanisms that cause hypertension.
- Alexander Varshavsky (California Institute of Technology), for discovering critical molecular determinants and biological functions of intracellular protein degradation.
The 2015 laureates were:
- Alim-Louis Benabid, Joseph Fourier University, for the discovery and pioneering work on the development of high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has revolutionized the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
- C. David Allis, The Rockefeller University, for the discovery of covalent modifications of histone proteins and their critical roles in the regulation of gene expression and chromatin organization, advancing the understanding of diseases ranging from birth defects to cancer.
- Victor Ambros, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Gary Ruvkun, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, for the discovery of a new world of genetic regulation by microRNAs, a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets.
- Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University, for harnessing an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity into a powerful and general technology for editing genomes, with wide-ranging implications across biology and medicine.
The 2016 laureates were:
- Edward S. Boyden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for the development and implementation of optogenetics – the programming of neurons to express light-activated ion channels and pumps, so that their electrical activity can be controlled by light.
- John Hardy, University College London, for discovering mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene that cause early onset Alzheimer’s disease, linking accumulation of APP-derived beta-amyloid peptide to Alzheimer’s pathogenesis and inspiring new strategies for disease prevention.
- Helen Hobbs, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for the discovery of human genetic variants that alter the levels and distribution of cholesterol and other lipids, inspiring new approaches to the prevention of cardiovascular and liver disease.
- Svante Pääbo, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, for pioneering the sequencing of ancient DNA and ancient genomes, thereby illuminating the origins of modern humans, our relationships to extinct relatives such as Neanderthals, and the evolution of human populations and traits.
The 2017 laureates were:
- Stephen J. Elledge, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for elucidating how eukaryotic cells sense and respond to damage in their DNA and providing insights into the development and treatment of cancer.
- Harry F. Noller, University of California, Santa Cruz, for discovering the centrality of RNA in forming the active centers of the ribosome, the fundamental machinery of protein synthesis in all cells, thereby connecting modern biology to the origin of life and also explaining how many natural antibiotics disrupt protein synthesis.
- Roeland Nusse, Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for pioneering research on the Wnt pathway, one of the crucial intercellular signaling systems in development, cancer and stem cell biology.
- Yoshinori Ohsumi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, for elucidating autophagy, the recycling system that cells use to generate nutrients from their own inessential or damaged components.
- Huda Yahya Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for discoveries of the genetic causes and biochemical mechanisms of spinocerebellar ataxia and Rett syndrome, findings that have provided insight into the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases.
The 2018 laureates were:
- Joanne Chory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for discovering how plants optimize their growth, development, and cellular structure to transform sunlight into chemical energy.
- Peter Walter, University of California, San Francisco and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.
- Kazutoshi Mori, Kyoto University, for elucidating the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-causing unfolded proteins and directs cells to take corrective measures.
- Kim Nasmyth, University of Oxford, for elucidating the sophisticated mechanism that mediates the perilous separation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division and thereby prevents genetic diseases such as cancer.
- Don W. Cleveland, University of California, San Diego, for elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of a type of inherited ALS, including the role of glia in neurodegeneration, and for establishing antisense oligonucleotide therapy in animal models of ALS and Huntington disease.
The 2019 laureates were:
- C. Frank Bennett, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Carlsbad, the development of an effective antisense oligonucleotide therapy for children with the neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy.
- Adrian R. Krainer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, for the development of an effective antisense oligonucleotide therapy for children with the neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy.
- Angelika Amon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, for determining the consequences of aneuploidy, an abnormal chromosome number resulting from chromosome mis-segregation.
- Xiaowei Zhuang, Harvard University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for discovering hidden structures in cells by developing super-resolution imaging – a method that transcends the fundamental spatial resolution limit of light microscopy.
- Zhijian James Chen, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dallas, for elucidating how DNA triggers immune and autoimmune responses from the interior of a cell through the discovery of the DNA-sensing enzyme cGAS.
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- "Charles L. Sawyers, MD". HHMI.org.
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- Breakthrough Prize 2016
- Breakthrough Prize 2017
- Breakthrough Prize 2018
- Breakthrough Prize 2019
- $3 Million Prizes Will Go to Mathematicians, Too, The New York Times