Wolf Prize in Medicine


The Wolf Prize in Medicine is awarded annually by the Wolf Foundation in Israel.[1] It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Arts. The Prize has been stated to be the second most prestigious award in science, and a significant predictor of the Nobel Prize.[2]




Year Name Nationality Citation
1978 George D. Snell   United States for discovery of H-2 antigens, which codes for major transplantation antigens and the onset of the immune response.
Jean Dausset   France for discovering the HL-A system, the major histocompatibility complex in man and its primordial role in organ transplantation.
Jon J. van Rood   Netherlands for his contribution to the understanding of the complexity of the HL-A system in man and its implications in transplantation and in disease.
1979 Roger Wolcott Sperry   United States for his studies on the functional differentiation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Arvid Carlsson   Sweden for his work which established the role of dopamine as a neurotransmitter.
Oleh Hornykiewicz   Austria for opening a new approach in the control of Parkinson's disease by L-Dopa.
1980 César Milstein
Leo Sachs
James L. Gowans
  Argentina /   United Kingdom;
  United Kingdom
for their contributions to knowledge of the function and dysfunction of the body cells through their studies on the immunological role of the lymphocytes, the development of specific antibodies and the elucidation of mechanisms governing the control and differentiation of normal and cancer cells.
1981 Barbara McClintock   United States for her imaginative and important contributions to our understanding of chromosome structure behaviour and function, and for her identification and description of transposable genetic (mobile) elements.
Stanley N. Cohen   United States for his concepts underlying genetic engineering; for constructing a biologically functional hybrid plasmid, and for achieving actual expression of a foreign gene implanted in E. coli by the recombinant DNA method.
1982 Jean-Pierre Changeux   France for the isolation, purification and characterization of the acetylcholine receptor.
Solomon H. Snyder   United States for the development of the ways to label neurotransmitter receptors which provide tools to describe their properties.
James W. Black   United Kingdom for developing agents which block beta adrenergic and histamine receptors.
1983/4 No award
1984/5 Donald F. Steiner   United States for his discoveries concerning the bio-synthesis and processing of insulin which have had profound implications for basic biology and clinical medicine.
1986 Osamu Hayaishi   Japan for his discovery of the oxygenase enzymes and elucidation of their structure and biological importance.
1987 Pedro Cuatrecasas
Meir Wilchek
  United States
for the invention and development of affinity chromatography and its applications to biomedical sciences.
1988 Henri G. Hers
Elizabeth F. Neufeld
  United States
for the biochemical elucidation of lysosomal storage diseases and the resulting contributions to biology, pathology, prenatal diagnosis and therapeutics.
1989 John Gurdon   United Kingdom for his introduction of the xenopus oocyte into molecular biology and his demonstration that the nucleus of a differentiated cell and of the egg differ in expression but not in the content of genetic material.
Edward B. Lewis   United States for his demonstration and exploration of the genetic control of the development of body segments by homeotic genes.
1990 Maclyn McCarty   United States for his part in the demonstration that the transforming factor in bacteria is due to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and the concomitant discovery that the genetic material is composed of DNA.
1991 Seymour Benzer   United States for having generated a new field of molecular neurogenetics by his pioneering research on the dissection of the nervous system and behavior by gene mutations.
1992 M. Judah Folkman   United States for his discoveries which originated the concept and developed the field of angiogenesis research.
1993 No award
1994/5 Michael J. Berridge
Yasutomi Nishizuka
  United Kingdom
for their discoveries concerning cellular transmembrane signalling involving phospholipids and calcium.
1995/6 Stanley B. Prusiner   United States for discovering prions, a new class of pathogens that cause important neurodegenerative disease by inducing changes in protein structure.
1997 Mary Frances Lyon   United Kingdom for her hypothesis concerning the random inactivation of X-chromosomes in mammals.
1998 Michael Sela
Ruth Arnon
for their major discoveries in the field of immunology.
1999 Eric R. Kandel   United States for the elucidation of the organismic, cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby short-term memory is converted to a long-term form.
2000 No award
2001 Avram Hershko
Alexander Varshavsky
  Israel /   Hungary;
  Russia /   United States
for the discovery of the ubiquitin system of intracellular protein degradation and the crucial functions of this system in cellular regulation.
2002/3 Ralph L. Brinster   United States for the development of procedures to manipulate mouse ova and embryos, which has enabled transgenesis and its applications in mice.
Mario Capecchi
Oliver Smithies
  Italy /   United States;
  United Kingdom /   United States
for their contribution to the development of gene-targeting, enabling elucidation of gene function in mice.
2004 Robert A. Weinberg   United States for his discovery that cancer cells including human tumor cells, carry somatically mutated genes-oncogenes that operate to drive their malignant proliferation.
Roger Y. Tsien   United States for his seminal contribution to the design and biological application of novel fluorescent and photolabile molecules to analyze and perturb cell signal transduction.
2005 Alexander Levitzki   Israel for pioneering signal transduction therapy and for developing tyrosine kinase inhibitors as effective agents against cancer and a range of other diseases.
Anthony R. Hunter   United Kingdom /   United States for the discovery of protein kinases that phosphorylate tyrosine residues in proteins, critical for the regulation of a wide variety of cellular events, including malignant transformation.
Anthony J. Pawson   United Kingdom /   Canada for his discovery of protein domains essential for mediating protein-protein interactions in cellular signaling pathways, and the insights this research has provided into cancer.
2006/7 No award
2008 Howard Cedar
Aharon Razin
  United States
for their fundamental contributions to our understanding of the role of DNA methylation in the control of gene expression.
2009 No award
2010 Axel Ullrich   Germany for groundbreaking cancer research that has led to development of new drugs.
2011 Shinya Yamanaka
Rudolf Jaenisch
  Germany /   United States
for the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from skin cells (SY) and demonstration that iPS cells can be used to cure genetic disease in a mammal, thus establishing their therapeutic potential (RJ).
2012 Ronald M. Evans   United States for his discovery of the gene super-family encoding nuclear receptors and elucidating the mechanism of action of this class of receptors.
2013 No award
2014 Nahum Sonenberg   Israel /   Canada for his discovery of the proteins that control the protein expression mechanism and their operation.
Gary Ruvkun
Victor Ambros
  United States;
  United States
for the discovery of the micro-RNA molecules that play a key role in controlling gene expression in natural processes and disease development.
2015 John Kappler
Philippa Marrack
  United States;
  United States
for major contributions to the understanding of the key antigen-specific molecules, the T cell receptor for antigen and antibodies and how these molecules participate in immune recognition and effector function.
Jeffrey Ravetch   United States
2016 C. Ronald Kahn   United States for pioneering studies defining insulin signaling and its alterations in disease.
Lewis C. Cantley   United States for discovery of phosphoinositide- 3 kinases and their roles in physiology and disease.
2017 James P. Allison   United States for a revolution in cancer treatment due to the discovery of the immune control barrier.
2018 No award
2019 Jeffrey M. Friedman   United States for the discovery of Leptin and the entirely new endocrine system controlling body weight (and many other processes).[4]
2020 Emmanuelle Charpentier   France for deciphering and repurposing the bacterial CRISPR/Cas9 immune system for genome editing.
Jennifer Doudna   United States for revealing the medicine-revolutionizing mechanism of bacterial immunity via RNA-guided genome editing.[5]
2021 Joan Steitz   United States for her many fundamental contributions to the field of RNA biology.[6]
Lynne Elizabeth Maquat   United States for discovering a mechanism that destroys mutant messenger RNA in cells, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay.[6]
Adrian Krainer   Uruguay /   United States for his fundamental mechanistic discoveries on RNA splicing leading to a world’s first treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).[6]
2022 No award
2023 Daniel J. Drucker   Canada for pioneering work in elucidating the mechanisms and therapeutic potential of enteroendocrine hormones.[7]
2024 Botond Roska
José-Alain Sahel
  Hungary /    Switzerland;
  France /   United States
for sight-saving and vision restoration to blind people using optogenetics.[8]

Laureates per country


Below is a chart of all laureates per country (updated to 2024 laureates). Some laureates are counted more than once if they have multiple citizenships.

Country Number of laureates
  United States 38
  United Kingdom 9
  Israel 8
  France 4
  Japan 3
  Canada 3
  Germany 2
  Hungary 2
  Italy 1
  Argentina 1
  Netherlands 1
  Sweden 1
  Austria 1
  Belgium 1
  Uruguay 1
  Russia 1
   Switzerland 1

See also


Notes and references

  1. ^ Gurdon, John (2012). Wolf prize in medicine 1978–2008. Vol. 1. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-4291-73-6.
  2. ^ Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy (29 January 2015). "Wolf Prizes in the sciences and arts presented to nine North Americans". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ Wolf Prize Recipients in Medicine
  4. ^ "Wolf Prize 2019 – Medicine". Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  5. ^ Wolf Prize 2020 – Medicine
  6. ^ a b c "Wolf Prize in medicine goes to RNA researchers whose work enabled development of COVID-19 vaccines". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  7. ^ Wolf Prize 2023
  8. ^ Laureates 2024
  • "WOLF PRIZE IN MEDICINE 1978–2008".
  • "Huffingtonpost Israel-Wolf-Prizes 2012". Huffington Post. 10 January 2012.
  • "Jerusalempost Israel-Wolf-Prizes 2014".
  • Wolf Prizes 2015
  • Jerusalempost Israel-Wolf-Prizes 2016
  • Jerusalempost Israel-Wolf-Prizes 2017
  • Wolf Prize 2019