Three Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators were among 11 scientists recognized with the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences today.
HHMI investigators Cornelia I. Bargmann at the Rockefeller University, Charles L. Sawyers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Bert Vogelstein at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine were honored for excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. The prizes are administered by the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing breakthrough research. Each prize carries an award of $3 million.
Founding sponsors of the Breakthrough Prize include Arthur Levinson, Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner, who collectively have agreed to establish five annual prizes of $3 million each. Past recipients of the Breakthrough Prize are invited to serve on the selection committee to select recipients of future Prizes.
Bargmann, who has been an HHMI investigator since 1995, uses genetic approaches to ask how neural circuits develop and how they function to generate behavior. She was honored by the foundation for studies on the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.
Sawyers, who joined HHMI in 2003, is investigating the signaling pathways that drive the growth of cancer cells, with an eye toward designing new treatment options for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, prostate cancer, and glioblastoma. The foundation cited Sawyers for research on cancer genes and targeted therapy.
Vogelstein, who has been an HHMI investigator since 1995, is interested in identifying and characterizing the genes that cause cancer and the application of this knowledge to the management of patients. He was recognized by the foundation for research on cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.