Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences is a monetary award by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan of Facebook ; Sergey Brin of Google ; entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner ; and Anne Wojcicki , one of the founders of the 23andMe genetics company . The Chairman of the Board is Arthur D. Levinson of Apple . [1]

The award of $ 3 million, the Largest Award in the sciences, [2] is Given To Researchers Who-have made discoveries That extend human life. The Prize is awarded annually, beginning in 2013, with six awards given in each subsequent year. Winners are expected to give public readings and make the committee to decide future winners. [1]



Eleven inaugural laureates were announced in 2013. Each received $ 3,000,000. [1]

  • Cornelia I. Bargmann ( Rockefeller University ), for the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.
  • David Botstein ( Princeton University ), for linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.
  • Lewis C. Cantley ( Harvard Medical School , Weill Cornell Medical College ), [3] for the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
  • Hans Clevers ( Hubrecht Institute ), for describing the role of signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.
  • Titia de Lange ( Rockefeller University ), [4] for research on telomeres , illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer.
  • Napoleone Ferrara ( University of California, San Diego ), for discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.
  • Eric S. Lander ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Broad Institute ), for the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease genes, and their application to medicine through the creation and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome.
  • Charles L. Sawyers ( Howard Hughes Medical Institute , Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ), [5] for cancer genes and targeted therapy.
  • Robert A. Weinberg ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Whitehead Institute ), for characterization of human cancer genes.
  • Shinya Yamanaka ( Kyoto University , J. David Gladstone Institutes , University of California, San Francisco ), for induced pluripotent stem cells .
  • Bert Vogelstein ( Howard Hughes Medical Institute , Johns Hopkins University ), for cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.


The 2014 laureates were: [6]

  • James P. Allison ( MD Anderson Cancer Center ), for the discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective therapy cancer. [7]
  • Mahlon DeLong ( Emory University ), for defining the interlocking circuits in the brain that malfunction in Parkinson’s disease. This scientific foundation underlies the circuit-based treatment of Parkinson’s disease by deep brain stimulation.
  • Michael N. Hall ( Biozentrum University of Basel ), for the discovery of Target of Rapamycin (TOR) and its role in cell growth control.
  • Robert Langer ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology ), for discoveries leading to the development of controlled drug-release systems and new biomaterials .
  • Richard P. Lifton ( Yale University School of Medicine at Yale University ), for the discovery of genes and biochemical mechanisms that cause hypertension .
  • Alexander Varshavsky ( California Institute of Technology ), for discovering critical molecular determinants and biological functions of intracellular protein degradation .


The 2015 laureates were: [8]

  • Alim-Louis Benabid , Joseph Fourier University , for the discovery and pioneering work on the development of high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has revolutionized the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
  • C. David Allis , The Rockefeller University , for the discovery of covalent modifications of histone proteins and their critical roles in the regulation of gene expression and chromatin organization, advancing the understanding of cancer-related diseases.
  • Victor Ambros , University of Massachusetts Medical School , and Gary Ruvkun , Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School , for the discovery of a new world of genetic regulation by microRNAs , a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets.
  • Jennifer Doudna , University of California, Berkeley , Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Emmanuelle Charpentier , Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and University, for harnessing an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity in a powerful and general technology for editing genomes, with wide-ranging implications across biology and medicine.


The 2016 laureates were: [9]

  • Edward S. Boyden , Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Karl Deisseroth , Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute , for the development and implementation of optogenetics – the programming of neurons to express light-activated ion channels and pumps, so that their electrical activity can be controlled by light.
  • John Hardy , University College London , for discovering mutations in the Amyloid Precursor Protein gene (APP) that causes early onset Alzheimer’s disease, linking accumulation of app-derived beta-amyloid peptide to Alzheimer’s pathogenesis and inspiring new strategies for disease prevention.
  • Helen Hobbs , University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for the discovery of human genetic variants and the distribution of cholesterol and other lipids, inspiring new approaches to cardiovascular and liver disease prevention.
  • Svante Pääbo , Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology , for pioneering the sequencing of ancient DNA and ancient genomes, thus illuminating the origins of modern humans, and their relationship to extinct Neanderthals, and the evolution of human populations and traits.


The 2017 laureates were: [10]

  • Stephen J. Elledge , Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for elucidating how to eukaryotic cells and their response to damage in their DNA and providing insights into the development and treatment of cancer.
  • Harry F. Noller , University of California, Santa Cruz, for the discovery of the centrality of RNA in the active centers of the ribosome, the fundamental machinery of protein synthesis in all cells, connecting modern biology to the origin of life and also explaining how many natural antibiotics disrupt protein synthesis.
  • Roeland Nusse , Stanford University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for pioneering research on the Wnt pathway, one of the crucial intercellular signaling systems in development, cancer and stem cell biology.
  • Yoshinori Ohsumi , Tokyo Institute of Technology, for the elucidating autophagy, the recycling system that uses nutrients from their own inessential or damaged components.
  • Huda Yahya Zoghbi , Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for discoveries of the genetic causes and biochemical mechanisms of spinocerebellar ataxia and Rett syndrome, findings that have provided insight into the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases.


The 2018 laureates were: [11]

  • Joanne Chory , Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for discovering how to grow their growth, development, and cellular structure to transform sunlight into chemical energy.
  • Peter Walter , University of California, San Francisco and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for the elucidating of the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality-control system that detects disease-cause of unfolded proteins and direct cells to corrective measures.
  • Kazutoshi Mori , Kyoto University, for the elucidating of the unfolded protein response, a cellular quality control system that detects disease-induced causes and corrective measures.
  • Kim Nasmyth , University of Oxford, for elucidating the advanced mechanism that mediates the separation of duplicated chromosomes during cell division and causes cancer.
  • Don W. Cleveland , University of California, San Diego, for elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of ALS, including the role of glia in neurodegeneration, and for establishing antisense oligonucleotide therapy in animal models of ALS and Huntington disease.

See also

  • Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics [12]
  • Fundamental Physics Prize


  1. ^ Jump up to:c Rory Carroll (20 February 2013). “Breakthrough Prize announced by Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” . The Guardian . Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  2. Jump up^ The Economist. “Take it, Alfred”
  3. Jump up^ “Cantley, Lewis C” . .
  4. Jump up^ “Cori Bargmann, Titia Lange’s inaugural win breakthrough Prizes worth $ 3 million” . .
  5. Jump up^ “Charles L. Sawyers, MD” . .
  6. Jump up^ “Breakthrough Prize 2014” . .
  7. Jump up^ Leach DR, Krummel MF, Allison JP (1996) Enhancement of antitumor immunity by CTLA-4 blockade. Science 271 (5256): 1734-6.10.1126 / Science.271.5256.1734
  8. Jump up^ “Breakthrough Prize 2015” . .
  9. Jump up^ Breakthrough Prize 2016
  10. Jump up^ Breakthrough Prize 2017
  11. Jump up^ Breakthrough Prize 2018
  12. Jump up^ $ 3 Million Prizes Will Go to Mathematicians, Too, The New York Times

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