Bert Vogelstein. Photo courtesy of the JHU Hub.
Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University is one of 11 scientists to receive one of the first-ever Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences awards, reports the New York Times. At $3 million, the cash amount, which each of the 11 recipients will receive, is more than double what Nobel Prize winners receive.
From the Times:
The award … was established by four Internet titans led by Yuri Milner, a Russian entrepreneur and philanthropist who caused a stir last summer when he began giving physicists $3 million awards.
The others, whom Mr. Milner described as old friends, are Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google; Anne Wojcicki, the founder of the genetics company 23andMe and Mr. Brin’s wife; and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. They plan to give five awards annually. [more]
According to the Times, Dr. Vogelstein “discovered a protein that suppresses the growth of tumors and devised a model for the progression of colon cancer that is widely used in colonoscopy.” He is a professor of pathology and oncology at Johns Hopkins.
Vogelstein, who graduated in 1974 from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is perhaps best known for his work identifying linkages between genetics and cancer. As the JHU Hub reports, “In 1989, Vogelstein’s identification of p53 gene mutations in colon cancer began a tide of research linking alterations in the gene to other cancers. It is now known as the most common gene mutation in all cancers.”
As for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences? Huzzah to tech entrepreneurs choosing to reward innovative scientific discovery and research. More money and celebrity should be spent on highlighting work that can truly change the world.
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