Gary Ruvkun and Victor Ambros honored as 2015 Breakthrough Prize Recipients

Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholars Gary Ruvkun, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1998 Senior Scholar in Aging) and Victor Ambros, PhD (University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2012 Senior Scholar in Aging) are among six researchers named as recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences. The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences honors transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life, with one prize dedicated to work that contributes to the understanding of Parkinson’s disease. Ruvkun and Ambros were recognized 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. Each received a $3 million award.

Other recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences are:

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 diseases ranging from birth defects to cancer.

Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University, for harnessing an ancient mechanism of bacterial immunity into a powerful and general technology for editing genomes, with wide-ranging implications across biology and medicine.

Past Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Awardees include Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholars Alexander Varshavsky, PhD (California Institute of Technology, 2004 Senior Scholar in Aging), Titia de Lange, MD, PhD (The Rockefeller University, 1999 Senior Scholar in Aging), Robert A. Weinberg, PhD (MIT, 2003 Senior Scholar in Aging), and Cornelia I. Bargmann, PhD (The Rockefeller University, 2012 Senior Scholar in Neuroscience)

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