Pioneers of Molecular Research Take 2012 Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science
Carlos Bustamante awarded $100,000 for studies of cellular processes at the level of single molecules
Alice Ting receives Creative Promise Prize of $25,000 for technologies that reveal protein function inside cells
NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science, honoring the contributions of foreign-born scientists. The recipient of 2012 Vilcek Prize, given in recognition of a lifetime record of achievement, is Peruvian-born Carlos Bustamante, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, Physics, and Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bustamante was cited for his pioneering discoveries in the field of molecular biology and biophysics; most notably, he has invented tools that make it possible, for the first time, to study life-sustaining cellular processes at the level of single molecules. His methods allow for the manipulation of individual molecules that play central functions inside a cell, giving scientists deeper insight into some of the vital processes occurring inside cells. Beyond laying the groundwork for future potential treatments for life-threatening human diseases, Dr. Bustamante’s work has galvanized the field of biophysics, marshaling ever-finer tools to observe molecular interactions inside cells.
The Vilcek Prize and the Creative Promise Prize embody the Foundation’s mission to publicize and celebrate the accomplishments of foreign-born artists and scholars, without whom many advances in American culture and science would not have been possible. “The work of Dr. Bustamante and Dr. Ting are perfect examples of the essential contributions immigrants make to American science,” said Dr. Jan Vilcek, President of the Vilcek Foundation. “Their research has opened up entirely new fields of study, and made new avenues of inquiry in biomedical science possible.”
The Vilcek Prize, which includes a $100,000 cash award, is one of many honors Dr. Bustamante has received. Elected a member of the National Academy of Science in 2002, he has also received the Alexander Hollaender award from the National Academy of Science, the Max Delbruck prize, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship, a Searle scholarship, and a Time magazine nomination as one of “America’s Best.”
The Vilcek Foundation is also pleased to present Alice Ting, Ph.D., with the 2012 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, in recognition of her innovative techniques for tagging and illuminating individual proteins within living cells. These methods, which make it possible to target and visualize specific proteins to study their biological functions, are a marked improvement over earlier technologies. Born in Taiwan, Dr. Ting is the Ellen Swallow Richards Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise includes a $25,000 cash award, and is given to foreign-born scientists who have distinguished themselves early in their careers.
Dr. Ting and Dr. Bustamante were chosen by juries of eminent scientists from preeminent institutions such as the New York University School of Medicine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Salk Institute, Rockefeller University, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The juries also selected four finalists for the Creative Promise Prize in Biomedical Science:
Austrian-born Konrad Hochedlinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University;
Austrian-born Andreas Hochwagen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology at New York University;
Chinese-born Song-Hai Shi, Ph.D., Associate Member at Sloan-Kettering Institute; and
Canadian-born Benjamin tenOever, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Each finalist will receive a cash award of $5,000.
The prizewinners and finalists will be honored at the Vilcek Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in New York City on April 2, 2012.
The Vilcek Prizes for the Arts, this year awarded in Dance, are awarded alongside the Vilcek Prizes for Biomedical Science. For more information, please visit www.vilcek.org.
SOURCE The Vilcek Foundation