Albert Lasker
Clinical Medical Research Award

Award Description

Conrad Elvehjem
For distinguished contributions to biochemical and nutrition research.

Conrad Elvehjem, the son of Norwegian emigrants to Wisconsin, has continued his residence and education in that state as he progressed through the secondary schools and the University of Wisconsin, where he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1927. As a member of the University faculty since 1925, he became a full professor in 1936, chairman of the biochemistry department in 1944 and dean of the graduate school in 1946, at 45 years of age. A National Research Council fellowship permitted a year at Cambridge University in England.

Measures of the esteem in which he is held include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Willard Gibbs Medal, the Osborne-Mendel Award, the Nicholas Appert Medal, the Meade Johnson Award, and an honorary doctor of science degree from Ripon College, and in 1952, he is vice president of the American Institute of Nutrition.

Dr. Elvehjem is honored by a Lasker Award for his basic research in demonstrating the requirement for copper, zinc and manganese as animal nutrients; for isolation of the antipellagra vitamin; for proof that the amino acid tryptophan is partly interchangeable with niacin as an essential nutrient; and for proof that several amino acids and vitamins in the B-complex are interdependent. He is a critical, inspiring teacher, a loyal friend and a contributor to the common good to whom the whole world is indebted.

Frederick McKay and H. Trendley Dean
For leadership in the development of community-wide fluoridation programs.

Epidemiologic observations of a dental condition common in certain areas and unknown in others led Dr. Frederick McKay to the recognition of an important factor in the development of the most ubiquitous of human ailments, dental caries. Over a period of 20 years, he studied the occurrence of mottled enamel, showed its relationship to some undetermined factor in the drinking water consumed during early childhood, and noted the frequent resistance of mottled teeth to decay. Following recognition of the role of fluorides in the development of this condition, Dr. H. Trendley Dean showed the relationship between the concentration of fluorides in water supplies and the development of mottled enamel and the prevalence of caries within a community.

These fundamental observations of Dr. McKay and Dr. Dean have opened a field of research to which many have subsequently contributed. Their studies have paved the way to the development of effective community-wide programs for the reduction of dental caries through the regulation of the fluoride content of public water supplies, a program of vital concern and great potential benefit to the health of mankind.