The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences was created by five celebrated entrepreneurs known for their contributions to world of technology. They helped build empires like Google, Facebook and Genentech and invested in technologies that have changed the way people live and work.
Now, with this prize, they are putting their money behind a different kind of breakthrough: "recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life." [caption align="alignright" ]
- Art Levinson, Chairman of the Board of Apple and Chairman and former CEO of Genentech
- Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook
- Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
- Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe
- Yuri Milner, founder of Mail.ru Group and DST Global Solutions[/caption]
As founding sponsors, Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner announced the launch of this prize yesterday, along with the first winners. And they agreed to establish five annual prizes of $3 million each going forward.
To administer the prize, they set up the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to "advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career."
All 11 prize winners have connections with Elsevier, particularly with Cell Press, where seven are editorial board members and nine have published in Cell Press journals. To honor these authors, Cell Press is making much of their prize-winning work freely available. This article includes a link to two articles for more of these authors:
Breakthrough Prize winners
The 11 recipients are:
- Cornelia I. Bargmann — Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at the Rockefeller University, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator — "for the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules." Dr. Bargman is on the editorial board of Cell, Current Biology and Neuron. Here is her 2009 study in Neuron: "Neurons Detect Increases and Decreases in Oxygen levels Using Distinct Guanylate Cyclases." And here is her study 2012 study in Neuron: "Neuromodulatory State and Sex Specify Alternative Behaviors through Antagonistic Synaptic Pathways in C. elegans."
- David Botstein — "for linkage mapping of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms." Dr. Botstein is Director and Anthony B Evnin professor of genomics at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.
- Lewis C. Cantley, "For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism." Dr. Cantley is Margaret and Herman Sokol professor and director of the cancer centre at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian hospital. Dr. Cantley is on the editorial board of Cell. Here is his 2011 article in Current Biology: "Cell-to-Cell Variability in PI3K Protein Level Regulates PI3K-AKT Pathway Activity in Cell Populations." And here is his 2013 article for Cell: "Oncogenic Kras Maintains Pancreatic Tumors through Regulation of Anabolic Glucose Metabolism."
- Hans Clevers — "For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer." Dr. Clevers is Professor of molecular genetics at Hubrecht Institute. Dr. Clevers is on the editorial board of Cell and Stem Cell Reports. Here is his 2013 article for Cell Stem Cell: "Identifying the Stem Cell of the Intestinal Crypt: Strategies and Pitfalls" and his 2013 article for Current Biology: "Intestinal Regeneration: YAP—Tumor Suppressor and Oncoprotein?"
- Titia de Lange —"for research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer." Dr. de Lange is Leon Hess professor, head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, and director of the Anderson Center for Cancer Research at Rockefeller University. Dr. de Lange is on the editorial board of Trends in Biochemical Sciences. Here is her 2011 article for Molecular Cell: "Telomere Protection by TPP1/POT1 Requires Tethering to TIN2" and her 2006 article for Current Biology: "Apollo, an Artemis-Related Nuclease, Interacts with TRF2 and Protects Human Telomeres in S Phase."
- Napoleone Ferrara — "for discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases." Dr. Ferrara is Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego.
- [ Eric S. Lander — "for the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease genes, and enabling their application to medicine through the creation and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome." Dr. Lander is President and founding director of the Eli and Edythe L Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Professor of biology at MIT, and Professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School. Here is Dr. Lander's 2011 article for Cell: "Stochastic State Transitions Give Rise to Phenotypic Equilibrium in Populations of Cancer Cells."
- Charles L. Sawyers — "for cancer genes and targeted therapy." Dr. Sawyers is Chair, human oncology and pathogenesis program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Dr. Sawyers is on the editorial board of Cell and Cancer Cell. Here is his 2002 article for Cancer Cell: "Multiple BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations confer polyclonal resistance to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib (STI571) in chronic phase and blast crisis chronic myeloid leukemia," and his 2011 article for Cancer Cell: "Reciprocal Feedback Regulation of PI3K and Androgen Receptor Signaling in PTEN-Deficient Prostate Cancer."
- Bert Vogelstein — "For cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes." Dr. Vogelstein is Director of the Ludwig Center and Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. Vogelstein is on the editorial board of Cancer Cell. Here is his 2005 paper for Cancer Cell: "Mutant PIK3CA promotes cell growth and invasion of human cancer cells," and his 1993 article for Cell: "Mutations of a mutS homolog in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer."
- Robert A. Weinberg — "For characterisation of human cancer genes." Dr. Weinberg is Daniel K. Ludwig professor for cancer research at MIT and director of the MIT/Ludwig Centre for Molecular Oncology. Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Here is Dr. Weinberg's 2012 article for Cell: "Slug and Sox9 Cooperatively Determine the Mammary Stem Cell State" and his 2011 article in Cell: "Tumor Metastasis: Molecular Insights and Evolving Paradigms."
- Shinya Yamanaka — "for induced pluripotent stem cells." Dr. Yamanaka is Director of the Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, Senior investigator and the LK Whittier Foundation investigator in stem cell biology at the Gladstone Institutes, and Professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. He also shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with John B. Gurdon. Dr. Yamanaka is on the editorial board of Cell, Cell Stem Cell and Stem Cell Reports. Here is his 2012 article for Cell Stem Cell, "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Past, Present, and Future," and his 2006 article for Cell, "Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors."
Elsevier Connect Contributors[caption id="attachment_11223" align="alignleft" width="150"] Alison Bert, DMA[/caption] [caption id="attachment_18867" align="alignright" width="150"] Mary Beth O'Leary[/caption] Alison Bert (@AlisonBert) is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect. She joined Elsevier five years ago from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She holds a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was a Fulbright scholar in Spain and performed in the 1986 master class of Andres Segovia.
Mary Beth O'Leary is Press Officer and Associate Media Relations Manager for Cell Press (@CellPressNews), based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She began her career at Cell Press as an Senior Editorial Assistant for the journal Cell before transitioning into a role as Marketing/Publicity Coordinator. In December, she moved into her position as Press Officer for Cell Press's 29 journals. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, she studied literature and art history.