The 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award was given to William G. Kaelin, Jr. (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School), Peter J. Ratcliffe (University of Oxford/Francis Crick Institute), and Gregg L. Semenza (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) for their discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability, a process that is essential for survival. The 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award went to Ralf F.W. Bartenschlager (University of Heidelberg), Charles M. Rice (Rockefeller University), and Michael J. Sofia (formerly at Pharmasset and now at Arbutus Biopharma), who developed a system to study the replication of the virus that causes hepatitis C and used that system to revolutionize the treatment of the chronic, often lethal disease.
And the 2016 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award was given to Bruce M. Alberts (University of California, San Francisco) in recognition of his fundamental discoveries in DNA replication and protein biochemistry, visionary leadership in directing national and international scientific organizations to better people's lives, and passionate dedication to improving education in science and mathematics. Considered among the most prestigious honors in medical science, the Lasker Awards carry an honorarium of $250,000 in each category.
"The work of this year's honorees epitomizes the power and impact of dedication to rigorous and innovative medical research. These outstanding advances have illuminated fundamental aspects of life, developed a cure for a deadly disease, and raised public engagement with science," said Lasker Foundation president Claire Pomeroy. "The innovative and highly original achievements of these scientists highlight the critical importance of sustained support for biomedical research in attaining a healthier future for all."