NEW YORK: Two scientists who illuminated how brain cells communicate, three researchers who developed implants that let deaf people hear and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates have won prestigious Lasker Awards for medical research and contributions to public health.
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced the recipients of the $250,000 prizes yesterday. The awards will be presented on September 20 in New York City. The Gateses won the public service award “for leading a historic transformation in the way we view the globe’s most pressing health concerns and improving the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable,” the Lasker foundation said. They have donated more than $26bn to their philanthropic foundation.
The Lasker clinical medical research award will be shared by Graeme Clark, an emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Ingeborg Hochmair of the company MED-EL in Innsbruck, Austria, and Blake Wilson of Duke University in North Carolina, for developing the modern cochlear implant. More than 320,000 people around the world use the implants for severe hearing loss, the foundation said.
The Lasker award for basic medical research will be shared by Richard Scheller of the biotech company Genentech and Dr. Thomas Sudhof of Stanford University. With research they began independently in the late 1980s, they unraveled details of how brain cells release chemical messengers to communicate with each other.