Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and Yuri Milner announced the launch of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. The Founding sponsors have agreed to establish 5 annual prizes of $3 million each.
“We are thrilled to support scientists who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives. These scientists should be household names and heros in society,” said Anne Wojcicki, Co-Founder of 23andMe.
The prize will be administered by the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation (“Foundation”) dedicated to advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Breakthrough Prize will be a transparent selection process, in which anyone will be able to nominate a candidate online for consideration. Also, the prize can be shared between any number of deserving scientists and can be received more than once. In addition, there are no age restrictions for nominees.
“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and welcome its first recipients," said Art Levinson, the foundation’s Chairman as well as Chairman of the Board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech. “I believe this new prize will shine a light on the extraordinary achievements of the outstanding minds in the field of life sciences, enhance medical innovation, and ultimately become a platform for recognizing future discoveries. I also want to thank our founding sponsors, Sergey Brin (Google), Anne Wojcicki (23AndMe), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Priscilla Chan and Yuri Milner (Mail.ru Group). Without their contribution, this prize would not have been possible.”
“Priscilla and I are honored to be part of this,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “We believe the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has the potential to provide a platform for other models of philanthropy, so people everywhere have an opportunity at a better future.”
Cornelia I. Bargmann 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 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 Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor and Director of the Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
Hans Clevers Professor of Molecular Genetics at Hubrecht Institute. For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.
Titia de Lange 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.
Napoleone Ferrara 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 the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.
Eric S. Lander 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 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 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 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 Director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University. Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco. For induced pluripotent stem cells.