Lasker Award


In 1945 Albert Lasker and Mary Woodard Lasker created the Lasker Awards. Every year since then the award has been given to the living person considered to have made the greatest contribution to medical science or who has demonstrated public service on behalf of medicine. They are administered by the Lasker Foundation. The Lasker is sometimes referred to as "America's Nobels".

Lasker Award
President Lyndon Johnson accepting the special Albert Lasker Award for Leadership in Health
Awarded forMajor contributions to medical science
Sponsored byLasker Foundation
Basic (2019)Max Dale Cooper
Jacques Miller
Clinical (2019)H. Michael Shepard
Dennis J. Slamon
Axel Ullrich
Public Service (2019)GAVI

The Lasker Awards have gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize. Eighty-six Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 32 in the last two decades.[1][2] Claire Pomeroy is the current president of the Lasker Foundation.



The award is given in four branches of medical science:[1]

  1. Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
  2. Lasker–DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
  3. Lasker–Bloomberg Public Service Award (Renamed in 2011 from Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award. Renamed in 2000 from Albert Lasker Public Service Award.)
  4. Lasker–Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science (1994– renamed to that name in 2008) (optional)

The awards carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category.[3]

A collection of papers from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation were donated to the National Library of Medicine by Mrs. Albert D. Lasker in April 1985.[4]

In addition to the main awards, there are historical awards that are no longer awarded.[5]

Recent awards


Recent winners include the following:

Year Award Laureate(s) Reason
2023 Basic Demis Hassabis Creating AlphaFold, artificial intelligence program for protein structure prediction.[6]
John M. Jumper
Clinical James G. Fujimoto Inventing optical coherence tomography.[7]
David Huang
Eric A. Swanson
Special Achievement Piet Borst A scientific career spanning 50 years, mentorship, and leadership[8]
2022 Basic Richard O. Hynes For discoveries concerning the integrins – key mediators of cell–matrix and cell–cell adhesion in physiology and disease.[9]
Erkki Ruoslahti
Timothy A. Springer
Clinical Yuk Ming Dennis Lo For the discovery of fetal DNA in maternal blood, leading to noninvasive prenatal testing for Down syndrome.[10]
Public Service Lauren Gardner For creating the Covid-19 Dashboard, which set a new standard for disseminating authoritative public health data in real time.[11]
2021 Basic Karl Deisseroth For the discovery of light-sensitive microbial proteins that can activate or silence individual brain cells which was integral in developing optogenetics – a revolutionary technique for neuroscience.[12]
Peter Hegemann
Dieter Oesterhelt
Clinical Katalin Karikó For the discovery of a new therapeutic technology based on the modification of messenger RNA – enabling rapid development of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines.[13]
Drew Weissman
Special Achievement David Baltimore As one of the premier biomedical scientists of the last five decades, he is renowned for the breadth and beauty of his discoveries in virology, immunology, and cancer; for his academic leadership; for his mentorship of prominent scientists; and for his influence as a public advocate for science.[14]
2019 Basic Max Dale Cooper For their discovery of the two distinct classes of lymphocytes, B cells and T cells – a monumental achievement that provided the organizing principle of the adaptive immune system and launched the course of modern immunology.[15]
Jacques Miller
Clinical H. Michael Shepard For their invention of Herceptin, the first monoclonal antibody that blocks HER2, a cancer-causing protein, and for its development as a life-saving therapy for women with breast cancer.[16]
Dennis J. Slamon
Axel Ullrich
Public Service GAVI vaccination alliance For providing sustained access to childhood vaccines around the globe, saving millions of lives, and for highlighting the power of immunization to prevent disease.[17]
2018 Basic C. David Allis For discoveries elucidating how gene expression is influenced by chemical modification of histones – the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes.
Michael Grunstein
Clinical John B. Glen For the discovery and development of propofol, a chemical whose rapid action and freedom from residual effects have made it the most widely used agent for induction of anesthesia in patients throughout the world.
Special Achievement Joan Argetsinger Steitz For four decades of leadership in biomedical science – exemplified by pioneering discoveries in RNA biology, generous mentorship of budding scientists, and vigorous and passionate support of women in science.
2017 Basic Michael N. Hall For discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.[18]
Clinical Douglas R. Lowy For technological advances that enabled development of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses.
John T. Schiller [de]
Public Service Planned Parenthood For providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.
2016 Basic William G. Kaelin Jr. For the discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability – a process essential for survival.[19]
Peter J. Ratcliffe
Gregg L. Semenza
Clinical Ralf F. W. Bartenschlager For development of a system to study the replication of the virus that causes hepatitis C and for use of this system to revolutionize the treatment of this chronic, often lethal disease.[20]
Charles M. Rice
Michael J. Sofia
Special Achievement Bruce M. Alberts For fundamental discoveries in DNA replication and protein biochemistry; for visionary leadership in directing national and international scientific organizations to better people’s lives; and for passionate dedication to improving education in science and mathematics.[21]
2015 Basic Stephen J. Elledge For discoveries concerning the DNA-damage response – a fundamental mechanism that protects the genomes of all living organisms.[22]
Evelyn M. Witkin
Clinical James P. Allison For the discovery and development of a monoclonal antibody therapy that unleashes the immune system to combat cancer.[23]
Public Service Médecins Sans Frontières For bold leadership in responding to the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa and for sustained and effective frontline responses to health emergencies.[24]
2014 Basic Kazutoshi Mori For discoveries concerning the unfolded protein response – an intracellular quality control system that detects harmful misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and signals the nucleus to carry out corrective measures.
Peter Walter
Clinical Alim-Louis Benabid For the development of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, a surgical technique that reduces tremors and restores motor function in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.
Mahlon R. DeLong
Special Achievement Mary-Claire King For bold, imaginative, and diverse contributions to medical science and human rights – she discovered the BRCA1 gene locus that causes hereditary breast cancer and deployed DNA strategies that reunite missing persons or their remains with their families.
2013 Basic Richard H. Scheller For discoveries concerning the molecular machinery and regulatory mechanism that underlie the rapid release of neurotransmitters.[25]
Thomas C. Südhof
Clinical Graeme M. Clark For the development of the modern cochlear implant – a device that bestows hearing to individuals with profound deafness.[26]
Ingeborg Hochmair
Blake S. Wilson
Public Service Bill Gates For leading a historic transformation in the way we view the globe's most pressing health concerns and improving the lives of millions of the world's most vulnerable.[27]
Melinda Gates
2012 Basic Michael Sheetz For discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins, machines that move cargoes within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements.[28]
James Spudich
Ronald Vale
Clinical Roy Calne For the development of liver transplantation, which has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease.[29]
Thomas Starzl
Special Achievement Donald D. Brown For exceptional leadership and citizenship in biomedical science – exemplified by fundamental discoveries concerning the nature of genes; by selfless commitment to young scientists; and by disseminating revolutionary technologies to the scientific community.[30]
Tom Maniatis
2011 Basic Franz-Ulrich Hartl For discoveries concerning the cell's protein-folding machinery, exemplified by cage-like structures that convert newly made proteins into their biologically active forms.[31]
Arthur L. Horwich
Clinical Tu Youyou For the discovery of artemisinin, a drug therapy for malaria that has saved millions of lives across the globe, especially in the developing world.[32]
Public Service National Institutes of Health Clinical Center For serving, since its inception, as a model research hospital – providing innovative therapy and high-quality patient care, treating rare and severe diseases, and producing outstanding physician-scientists whose collective work has set a standard of excellence in biomedical research.[33]
2010 Basic Douglas L. Coleman Discovery of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight – a breakthrough that opened obesity research to molecular exploration.[34]
Jeffrey M. Friedman
Clinical Napoleone Ferrara Discovery of VEGF as a major mediator of angiogenesis and the development of an effective anti-VEGF therapy for wet macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.[35]
Special Achievement David Weatherall For 50 years of international statesmanship in biomedical science – exemplified by discoveries concerning genetic diseases of the blood and for leadership in improving clinical care for thousands of children with thalassemia throughout the developing world.[36]
2009 Basic John Gurdon Discoveries concerning nuclear reprogramming, the process that instructs specialized adult cells to form early stem cells – creating the potential to become any type of mature cell for experimental or therapeutic purposes.[37]
Shinya Yamanaka
Clinical Brian Druker The development of molecularly-targeted treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia, converting a fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition.[38]
Nicholas Lydon
Charles Sawyers
Public Service Michael Bloomberg Employing sound science in political decision making; setting a world standard for the public's health as an impetus for government action; leading the way to reduce the scourge of tobacco use; and advancing public health through enlightened philanthropy.[39]
2008 Basic Victor Ambros Discoveries that revealed an unanticipated world of tiny RNAs that regulate gene function in plants and animals.[40]
David Baulcombe
Gary Ruvkun
Clinical Akira Endo The discovery of the statins – drugs with remarkable LDL-cholesterol-lowering properties that have revolutionized the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease.[41]
Special Achievement Stanley Falkow A 51-year career as one of the great microbe hunters of all time – he discovered the molecular nature of antibiotic resistance, revolutionized the way we think about how pathogens cause disease, and mentored more than 100 students, many of whom are now distinguished leaders in the fields of microbiology and infectious diseases.[2]
2007 Basic Ralph Steinman The discovery of dendritic cells – the preeminent component of the immune system that initiates and regulates the body's response to foreign antigens.[42]
Clinical Alain Carpentier The development of prosthetic mitral and aortic valves, which have prolonged and enhanced the lives of millions of people with heart disease.[43]
Albert Starr
Public Service Anthony Fauci For his role as the principal architect of two major U.S. governmental programs, one aimed at AIDS and the other at biodefense.[44]
2006 Basic Elizabeth Blackburn The prediction and discovery of telomerase, a remarkable RNA-containing enzyme that synthesizes the ends of chromosomes, protecting them and maintaining the integrity of the genome[45]
Carol Greider
Jack Szostak
Clinical Aaron Beck The development of cognitive therapy, which has transformed the understanding and treatment of many psychiatric conditions, including depression, suicidal behavior, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders.[46]
Special Achievement Joseph Gall A distinguished 57-year-career as a founder of modern cell biology and the field of chromosome structure and function; bold experimentalist; inventor of in situ hybridization; and early champion of women in science.[47]
2005 Basic Ernest McCulloch Ingenious experiments that first identified a stem cell – the blood-forming stem cell – which set the stage for all current research on adult and embryonic stem cells.[48]
James Till
Clinical Alec John Jeffreys Development of two powerful technologies – Southern hybridization and DNA fingerprinting – that together revolutionized human genetics and forensic diagnostics.[49]
Edwin Mellor Southern
Public Service Nancy Brinker For creating one of the world's great foundations devoted to curing breast cancer and for dramatically increasing public awareness about this devastating disease.[50]
2004 Basic Pierre Chambon For the discovery of the superfamily of nuclear hormone receptors and elucidation of a unifying mechanism that regulates embryonic development and diverse metabolic pathways.[51]
Ronald M. Evans
Elwood V. Jensen
Clinical Charles Kelman For revolutionizing the surgical removal of cataracts, turning a 10-day hospital stay into an outpatient procedure, and dramatically reducing complications.[52]
Special Achievement Matthew Meselson For a lifetime career that combines penetrating discovery in molecular biology with creative leadership in the public policy of chemical and biological weapons.[53]
2003 Basic Robert G. Roeder Pioneering studies on eukaryotic RNA polymerases and the general transcriptional machinery, which opened gene expression in animal cells to biochemical analysis.[54]
Clinical Marc Feldmann Discovery of anti-TNF therapy as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.[55]
Ravinder N. Maini
Public Service Christopher Reeve Perceptive, sustained, and heroic advocacy for medical research in general, and victims of disability in particular.[56]
2002 Basic James E. Rothman Discoveries revealing the universal molecular machinery that orchestrates the budding and fusion of membrane vesicles – a process essential to organelle formation, nutrient uptake, and secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters.[57]
Randy W. Schekman
Clinical Willem J. Kolff Development of renal hemodialysis, which changed kidney failure from a fatal to a treatable disease, prolonging the useful lives of millions of patients.[58]
Belding H. Scribner
Special Achievement James E. Darnell Jr. For an exceptional career in biomedical science during which he opened two fields in biology – RNA processing and cytokine signaling – and fostered the development of many creative scientists.[59]
2001 Basic Mario R. Capecchi Development of a powerful technology for manipulating the mouse genome with exquisite precision, which allows the creation of animal models of human disease.[60]
Martin J. Evans
Oliver Smithies
Clinical Robert G. Edwards Development of in vitro fertilization, a technological advance that has revolutionized the treatment of human infertility.[61]
Public Service William H. Foege For courageous leadership in improving worldwide public health, and his prominent role in the eradication of smallpox.[62]
2000 Basic Aaron Ciechanover For the discovery and recognition of the broad significance of the ubiquitin system of regulated protein degradation, a fundamental process that influences vital cellular events, including the cell cycle, malignant transformation, and responses to inflammation and immunity.[63]
Avram Hershko
Alexander Varshavsky
Clinical Harvey J. Alter Discovery of the virus that causes hepatitis C and the development of screening methods that reduced the risk of blood transfusion-associated hepatitis in the U.S. from 30% in 1970 to virtually zero in 2000.[64]
Michael Houghton
Special Achievement Sydney Brenner For 50 years of brilliant creativity in biomedical science – exemplified by his legendary work on the genetic code; his daring introduction of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a system for tracing the birth and death of every cell in a living animal; his rational voice in the debate on recombinant DNA; and his trenchant wit.[65]

Historical awards


Awards no longer made include Special Public Health Awards, Special Awards, Group Awards, and Lasker Awards made by the International Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, the National Committee Against Mental Illness, and Planned Parenthood – World Population.[5] Awards were also presented for medical journalism.[5]

Special Public Health awards


Special awards


Group awards


International Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled


National Committee Against Mental Illness


Planned Parenthood – World Population


See also



  1. ^ a b "The Lasker Awards Overview". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  2. ^ a b The Lasker Foundation – 2008 Special Achievement Award
  3. ^ "The Lasker Awards Media page". Archived from the original on 2015-05-31. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
  4. ^ "Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation - Albert Lasker Awards Archives (1944-)". National Library of Medicine.
  5. ^ a b c "Historical Archive: Awards No Longer Given by the Foundation". Lasker Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  6. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2023 Basic Medical Research Award
  7. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2023 Clinical Medical Research Award
  8. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2023 Special Achievement
  9. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2022 Basic Medical Research Award
  10. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2022 Clinical Medical Research Award
  11. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2022 Public Service
  12. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2021 Basic Medical Research Award
  13. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2021 Clinical Medical Research Award
  14. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2021 Special Achievement
  15. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2019 Basic Medical Research Award
  16. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2019 Clinical Medical Research Award
  17. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2019 Public Service Award
  18. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2017 Basic Medical Research Award
  19. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2016 Basic Medical Research Award
  20. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2016 Clinical Medical Research Award
  21. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2016 Special Achievement
  22. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2015 Basic Medical Research Award
  23. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2015 Clinical Medical Research Award
  24. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2015 Public Service Award
  25. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2013 Basic Medical Research Award
  26. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2013 Clinical Medical Research Award
  27. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2013 Public Service
  28. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2012 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2012-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2012 Clinical Medical Research Award
  30. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2012 Special Achievement Archived 2012-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2011 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2011 Clinical Medical Research Award
  33. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2011 Public Service Award Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2010 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2010-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2010 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2011-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2010 Special Achievement Award Archived 2011-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2009 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2009-09-25 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2009 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2009-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2009 Public Service Award Archived 2009-09-25 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2008 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2008 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2007 Basic Medical Research Award
  43. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2007 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2007 Public Service Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2006 Basic Medical Research Award
  46. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2006 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2006 Special Achievement Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2005 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  49. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2005 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2005 Public Service Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  51. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2004 Basic Medical Research Award
  52. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2004 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  53. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2004 Special Achievement Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  54. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2003 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2003 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  56. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2003 Public Service Award Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2002 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  58. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2002 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2002 Special Achievement Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  60. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2001 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  61. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2001 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  62. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2001 Public Service Award Archived 2010-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  63. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2000 Basic Medical Research Award Archived 2015-03-30 at the Wayback Machine
  64. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2000 Clinical Medical Research Award Archived 2012-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  65. ^ The Lasker Foundation – 2000 Special Achievement Award
  66. ^ "The Albert Lasker Awards for 1960". American Journal of Public Health and the Nation's Health. 50 (12): 1948. 1960. doi:10.2105/AJPH.50.12.1946. PMC 1373507. PMID 18017803.
  • The Lasker Foundation – Official site
  • Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation – Albert Lasker Awards Archives (1944–) – National Library of Medicine finding aid