Meet the 2018 Lasker Award winners

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation on Tuesday announced the winners of the 2018 Lasker Awards for clinical medical research, basic medical research, and special achievement in medical science.

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The awards—one of the world's most prestigious prizes in medicine—recognize the achievements of clinicians, scientists, and public servants who have made significant advances in the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure of human disease. The awards have been called the "American Nobels" because 87 honorees have gone on to win the international award.

Each of the Lasker awards includes a $250,000 prize. This year's honorees are scheduled to receive their awards in New York City on Sept. 21.

A look at the award winners

  • The Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award will be shared by C. David Allis of Rockefeller University and Michael Grunstein of the University of California-Los Angeles, whose research has shed light on the influence of histones, proteins that help store DNA in chromosomes, on gene expression. According to the foundation, Allis and Grunstein "unveiled a previously hidden layer of gene control and broke open a new field." 
  • The Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award will go to John Glen, who is retired from AstraZeneca, for "discovering and developing propofol, a chemical that has become "the most widely used agent for induction of anesthesia in patients throughout the world," the foundation said. The World Health Organization in 2016 declared propofol an "essential medicine," according to the foundation.
  • The Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science will go to Joan Steitz of Yale University for her "lifetime contributions" to the field of medical research over the past four decades, including "pioneering discoveries about RNA biology, generously mentor[ing] budding scientists, and vigorously and passionately support[ing] women in science," according to the foundation. Steitz "has generated a cascade of discoveries that have illuminated wide-ranging and unanticipated functions for RNA molecules within our cells, and has served as a role model in multiple ways, especially for rising female investigators," the foundation said (AP/STAT News, 9/11; The Lasker Awards, accessed 9/11; Thomas, New York Times, 9/11).

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