The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of the 2012 Lasker Awards for medical research.
Considered one of the most prestigious honors in medical science, the $250,000 awards were given to Micahel Sheetz (Columbia University), James Spudich (Stanford University School of Medicine), and Ronald Vale (University of California, San Francisco), all three of whom shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discovering machine-like cytoskeletal motor proteins that transport cargoes within cells; Roy Calne (University of Cambridge, England) and Thomas E. Starzl (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), who received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their work in developing liver transplantation, which has helped to save the lives of thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease; and Donald D. Brown (Carnegie Institute for Science) and Thomas Maniatis (Columbia University), who received the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for making fundamental discoveries about the nature of genes while fostering the careers of young scientists and spreading cutting-edge technologies through the global scientific community. The awards will be presented at a ceremony later this month in New York City.
For almost seventy years, the Lasker Foundation has worked to foster the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, educating the public, and advocating for support of medical research. Through its annual awards program, the foundation recognizes the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants around the world who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease.
"The Lasker Awards celebrate biomedical research that has had a transformative effect on the practice of medicine, science, and the lives and health of people all over the world," said Alfred Sommer, chair of the foundation's board of directors. "This year's awards are no exception, honoring fundamental biological discoveries, life-saving surgical techniques, and scientific statesmanship of the highest order."