The New York City-based Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced five distinguished scientists as the winners of the 2008 Lasker Awards for Medical Research, one of the most coveted honors in medical science.
This year's winners in the area of basic medical research are Victor Ambros, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School; David Baulcombe, of the University of Cambridge; and Gary Ruvkun, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School for their discovery of RNAs that govern a multitude of activities in animals and plants and have been implicated in a wide range of diseases.
In addition, Akira Endo, of Biopharm Research Laboratories, received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for his discovery of the first statin, while Stanley Falkow, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, received the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for his contributions to the study of disease-causing microbes. This year's awardees each will receive $300,000, a citation, and an inscribed statuette of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the symbol adopted by the foundation to represent humanity's victory over disability, disease, and death.
"The 2008 Lasker Awards honor investigators whose open-minded thinking and experimentation challenged conventional wisdom," said Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, chair of the international jury of scientists that selects Lasker Award recipients and a former Lasker Award and Nobel Prize recipient. "Their work launched new fields of scientific research that have fostered significant advances in the medical arena."