Albert Lasker
Basic Medical Research Award

Acceptance Remarks by Martin Evans

Martin Evans

Thank you so much . . .

In the light of the terrible events of the last weeks, I must take this opportunity to bring you a message of heartfelt sympathy and support from myself, my family and many friends and colleagues. As a nation, we, too, have faced terrorism over many years, often externally supported. We are particularly heartened by your gritty, determined response to retain civilised normality—of which this ceremony is but one example. I am very pleased to be here today.

Thank you for having honoured me in this manner. This is an awesome occasion—particularly important to me is the recognition which this award bestows upon my work.

The list of laureates represents a stellar collection of the greatest biomedical scientists, many of them my scientific heroes. I find myself both humbled and exhilarated in becoming one of their company.

I would not be here today if it were not for the love, belief and encouragement of my Father and Mother. Most important, too, has been the continued love and support of my wife Judith and of my family, my daughter Clare, who is here today, and my sons, Christopher and Simon, both of whom would also be here but for their heavy work commitments and young babies.

I must also mention just one scientific colleague—Matt Kaufman—who provided the final embryo trick which allowed me to realise my vision of establishing a pluripotential cell line directly from an embryo.

The words around the edge of this £2 coin say "Standing on the shoulders of Giants." This motto is a reminder that progress of science is a cooperative as well as an individual activity. I have built upon earlier work and I am proud to enter the ranks of those who will help to shape the future by having provided a basis for so much further development.

Although experimental mammalian genetics with the use of ES cells and the techniques pioneered by my co-awardees is now well founded and used, there is still much to be learned and much interesting research in store about what genes really do in the context of the real biology of the whole organism in a complex environment.

I am particularly pleased that the fundamental knowledge of gene function and the derivation of animal models of human disease are underpinning important therapeutic advances.

There is another exciting development coming from ES cells focusing on their differentiative capacity. Human ES cells may become the basis for far-reaching progress in cellular therapy.

I have had a fascinating research career. I am pleased to see practical outcomes from fundamental investigation. This is a wonderful award and recognition.

Once again, many thanks.