Inaugural Winners of $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Announced

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Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner recently announced the launch of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. The prize will be administered by the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation.

The first 11 recipients of the Breakthrough Prize, each of whom will receive $3 million for groundbreaking achievements in life science research are:

Cornelia I. Bargmann, PhD, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at the Rockefeller University. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. For the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.

David Botstein, PhD, Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the Anthony B. Evnin Professor of Genomics at ­Princeton University. For linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.

Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor and Director of the Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.

Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics at Hubrecht Institute. For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.

Napoleone Ferrara, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego. For discoveries in mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.

Titia de Lange, PhD, Leon Hess Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, and Director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research at the Rockefeller University. For research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer.

Eric S. Lander, PhD, President and Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Professor of Biology at MIT. Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. 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, MD, Chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. For cancer genes and targeted therapy.

Bert Vogelstein, MD, Director of the Ludwig Center and Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. For cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.

Robert A. Weinberg, PhD, Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT and Director of the MIT/Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology. Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. For characterization of human cancer genes.

Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, and Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco. For induced pluripotent stem cells. ■