September 29e 2021
the Lasker Prize are among the most prestigious medical awards in the United States Awarded annually, these awards given by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation be used for “shine the spotlight on fundamental biological discoveries and clinical advances that improve human health, and draw attention to the importance of public support for science.“The Lasker Awards are so popular that they have been dubbed the ‘Nobels of America’.
Over the past few years, the Lasker Awards have regularly featured scientists who rely on animals in their research. This year is no exception. Here are the recipients of the Lasker Prize 2021 and the animals that made their discoveries possible.
Fundamental medical research grant
This year’s Albert Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research honors three scientists, Dieter Oesterhelt, Peter Hegemann and Karl Deisseroth, for the discovery of light-sensitive microbial proteins that can activate or silence individual brain cells and for their use in Development optogenetic, a revolutionary technique for neuroscience.
This year’s Basic Research Award is a perfect example of how a basic scientific discovery in single-celled organisms, complemented by research on animals such as frogs and mouse, can shift the landscape from scientific discovery to applied research. For example, Viviana Gradinaru, a student at Deisseroth, used the technique awarded here to further probe how deep brain stimulation exerts its therapeutic effects on patients with Parkinson’s disease. It also highlights the # Timescales that are often involved in bringing basic research from the lab to the bedside. It often happens that the basic scientific discovery that allows application to humans is made possible by animal research, #MPAR, and is often overlooked and underestimated in press / press / award releases.
Lasker ~ DeBakey Prize for Clinical Medical Research
The 2021 Lasker ~ DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honors two scientists – Katalin Karikó (BioNTech) and Drew Weissman (University of Pennsylvania) – who have discovered a new therapeutic technology based on the modification of messenger RNA. This breakthrough has enabled the rapid development of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines. In addition to providing a tool to quell a devastating pandemic, innovation is fueling progress towards treatments and preventive measures for a range of different diseases.
For more information on the decades of animal research who made it all possible, please see here.
Lasker ~ Koshland Prize
The 2021 Lasker ~ Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Sciences honors David Baltimore (California Institute of Technology), one of the leading biomedical scientists of the past five decades, renowned for the breadth and beauty of his discoveries in virology, immunology, and cancer. His research relied heavily on the use of various animal models, including mouse, rats, and non-human primates.
~ Speaking of research