Albany Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research award winners continue to earn national and international recognition for breakthroughs in their fields of study.
2007 Albany Prize Recipient Dr. Robert Lefkowitz Wins Nobel Prize
For the second time this week, a recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research has this week been named a Nobel Prize winner. Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., who received the Albany Prize in 2007 for his pioneering research on cell receptors that led to the development of many important drugs, today was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Brian Kobilka of Stanford University School of Medicine.
|2007 Albany Prize Winner Robert Lefkowitz, MD|
Dr. Lefkowitz becomes the fifth Nobel Prize winner who was previously an Albany Prize recipient. In addition to Dr. Yamanaka, the others are Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., Bruce Beutler, M.D., and the late Ralph Steinman, M.D.
The $500,000 Albany Prize is the largest award in medicine and science in the United States. In total, 21 world-renowned investigators have been recipients of this prestigious award since its inception in 2001.
“We are proud to be among those who have honored Dr. Lefkowitz for his transformational work, and we join in celebrating his well-deserved honors,” said James J. Barba, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center and chairman of the Albany Prize National Selection Committee. “His work has had profound impact on the development of new medications for so many people.”
Dr. Lefkowitz, a professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University Medical Center, was honored in Albany as one of three investigators who determined how cells communicate with their environment through the use of receptors, or signaling pathways. Their groundbreaking discoveries of how receptors transmit signals from hormones, drugs and other stimuli to trigger action within the cell helped give rise to a new and rapid phase of drug development, including many of today’s most commonly used prescription drugs, such as better, safer beta blockers, cortisone, antihistamines, anti-depressants, estrogens, and contraceptives.
The two other 2007 recipients were Solomon Snyder, M.D., of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Ronald Evans, Ph.D., of The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.
2011 Albany Prize Winner Dr. Shinya Yamanaka Wins Nobel Prize
Stem cell scientist Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University in Japan, who was honored in 2011 with the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, was announced today as a winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Dr. Yamanaka shares the Nobel Prize with Professor Sir John Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England for their work that the Nobel committee says has “revolutionized our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.”
|2011 Albany Prize Winner Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D|
Their studies found that mature cells can be changed back to stem cells, which can in turn become any type of cell. These iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells, which share nearly all the characteristics of embryonic stem cells, also can be made in limitless supply.
In 2006, to the surprise of the scientific community, Dr. Yamanaka reported that he had genetically re-programmed adult cells in mice into an embryonic state. That was followed by the 2007 discovery of human iPS cells, which he produced using human skin cells.
Their work holds significant potential to grow new tissue, thus developing new customized treatments for spinal cord injuries, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease, and many other conditions.
Yamanaka shared the 2011 Albany Medical Center Prize with Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., of the Rockefeller University in New York City and James A. Thompson, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine.
“Dr. Yamanaka’s scientific accomplishments in a relatively short period of time are remarkable and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him on receiving this honor today. I have no doubt that his work will continue to have a profound impact on our ability to treat stubborn diseases and other conditions that afflict people worldwide,” said James J. Barba, president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center and chairman of the Albany Prize National Selection Committee.
Dr. Yamanaka is the fourth Albany Prize winner to go on to win a Nobel Prize. In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., a 2007 recipient of the Albany Prize, was awarded the Nobel for her discovery of the molecular nature of telomeres. Last year, 2009 Albany Prize recipients Bruce Beutler, M.D., and the late Ralph Steinman, M.D., were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discoveries regarding the detailed workings of the immune system.
The Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the largest award in medicine and science in the United States, was established in 2000 by the late Morris “Marty” Silverman.
2008 Albany Prize Winner Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D. Earns 2012 Greengard Prize
Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D., a 2008 winner of the Albany Medical Center Price in Medicine and Biomedical Research, will be awarded the 2012 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize from The Rockefeller University. The prize, which honors female scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to biomedical science and carries an honorarium of $100,000, will be presented at a ceremony on Thursday, November 29 at Rockefeller University's Caspary Auditorium in Manhattan.
|2008 Albany Prize Winner Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D.|