Three NIH grantees were among five scientists who won 2008 Albert Lasker Medical Awards, which were presented Sept. 26 in New York City.
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation’s Award for Basic Research honored both Dr. Victor R. Ambros and Dr. Gary B. Ruvkun for their work with micro-ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) that govern many gene functions in animals and plants. Prior to their discoveries, which pioneered a whole new field, prevailing wisdom held that proteins, not mRNAs, regulated
gene function in animal cells.
Ambros, 54, is a professor of molecular medicine
at the University of Massachusetts School, Worcester. Both he and Ruvkun have long received support from NIGMS. Ruvkun, 56, who also receives funding from NIA and NIDDK, is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and General Hospital. Ambros and Ruvkun, longtime collaborators,
shared their award with a third scientist,
Dr. David Baulcombe of the University of Cambridge.
The Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science went to Dr. Stanley
Falkow, 74, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Calling him “one of the great microbe hunters of all time,” the Lasker Foundation cited
his seminal research in understanding the causative agents of many diseases as well as his breakthrough work on bacteria’s role in antibiotic
resistance. Falkow has an extensive grant history with both NIAID and NCI.
Known as “America’s Nobels,” the Lasker Awards are the nation’s highest honor for basic and clinical medical research discoveries. The Special Achievement award is given only once every 2 years to commemorate lifetime contributions
to medical science.