2012 LASKER AWARDS HONOR GROUNDBREAKING MEDICAL RESEARCH
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, www.laskerfoundation.org – which for 67 years has championed the greatest advances in medical research, announced today the winners of the 2012 Lasker Awards: Michael Sheetz, James Spudich and Ronald Vale for discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins, machines that move cargoes within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements. Dr. Spudich is currently at Stanford University and is the Founding Director of the interdisciplinary Bio-X Program.
Dr. Spudich was a member of the McLaughlin Research Institute’s Scientific Advisory Committee from 2002 to 2011 and was instrumental in establishing the collaboration between McLaughlin Research Institute and the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore, India. McLaughlin Professor John Mercer is currently working at NCBS to help Dr. Spudich establish a lab in India emphasizing diseases of heart muscle. Mercer will be introducing technologies developed by Dr. Spudich’s lab at Stanford for studying mutations in the molecular motors that drive the human heartbeat. “John was part of the team that made a couple of breakthroughs in my lab…this will help move the research into the translational or clinical realm”, Dr. Spudich said. The timely hard-core biophysical and biochemical research is very exciting and satisfying for Spudich and his colleagues.
Spudich joins two other McLaughlin Research Institute Scientific Advisory Committee members – Dr. Leroy Hood and Dr. David Baltimore – in receiving this great honor.
The Lasker Awards — considered one of the most respected science prizes in the world — honor visionaries whose insight and perseverance have led to dramatic advances that will prevent disease and prolong life.
Since 1945, the Lasker Awards program has recognized the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major progress in understanding, diagnosing, treating, curing, and preventing human disease worldwide.
The Lasker Awards, carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category, and will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, September 21 in New York City.
Other winners are: Roy Calne and Thomas Starzl for the development of liver transplantation, which has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease.
Donald Brown and Thomas Maniatis 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.