2001 Lasker Awards

Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans, Oliver Smithies

For the development of a powerful technology for manipulating the mouse genome with exquisite precision, which allows the creation of animal models of human disease. Read about the achievement

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For the development of in vitro fertilization, a technological advance that has revolutionized the treatment of human infertility.

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William H. Foege

For courageous leadership in improving worldwide public health, and his prominent role in the eradication of smallpox. Read about the achievement

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Opening remarks by Joseph Goldstein 


Laskers for 2001: Knockout mice and test-tube babies

An expanded version of these remarks originally appeared in Nature Medicine.

Compared to mathematics and physics, biology and medicine are largely empirical sciences. There are no grand unified theories to guide experiments in the biomedical sciences. Conceptual advances often depend on the development of new technologies. Without the triple technologies of recombinant DNA, gene sequencing, and PCR, there would be no biotechnology industry and no sequence of the human genome. Without the development of the heart-lung machine, there would be no surgery to repair congenital heart defects in children and no surgery to bypass occluded coronary arteries in adults. This year's Lasker Awards in Basic and Clinical Science celebrate the development of two technologies that have had comparable revolutionary impact. Without these two technologies that you'll hear about in a moment, there would be no such thing as human embryonic stem cell research, and President Bush could have enjoyed his summer vacation in Crawford without having to agonize over the baptism of the infamous 64 stem cell lines. 

The presentation of this year's Lasker Basic Science Award will be made by Ira Herskowitz, professor of genetics at the University of California in San Francisco. Ira is one of the most creative and influential scientists in the world and has been a long-term and dedicated member of the Lasker Jury. Our Jury deliberations are always enlightened by Ira's wisdom and enlivened by his wit. It's indeed an honor to introduce Ira to you. 

I will present the Lasker Clinical Science Award and Daniel Koshland, Jr., Chairman of the Selection Committee for the Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award, will present this award. 

More Jury Chair Essays


2001 Lasker Medical Research Awards Jury

Front Row, left to right: J. Michael Bishop, University of California School of Medicine ● Mary Ellen Avery, Harvard Medical School ● Paul Nurse, Imperial Cancer Research Fund ● Michael DeBakey, Chair Emeritus of the Jury, Baylor College of Medicine ● Joseph Goldstein, Chair of the Jury, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ● Michael Brown, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ● Stuart Orkin, Harvard Medical School ● Owen Witte, University of California, Los Angeles

Back Row, left to right: Martin Raff, University College London ● Thomas Maniatis, Harvard University ● Gerald Fink, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research ● Don Wiley, Harvard University ● Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University ● William Paul, National Institutes of Health ● Günter Blobel, The Rockefeller University ● Ira Herkowitz, University of California School of Medicine ● Harold Varmus, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ● Stuart Kornfeld, Washington University School of Medicine ● Bruce Stillman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory ● Charles Sherr, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital ● Craig Thompson, The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center ● John Dowling, Harvard University ● Alfred Gilman, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ● Eric Kandel, Columbia University

Not pictured: Michael Welsh, University of Iowa

Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Awards Selection Committee

Daniel Koshland, Jr., Chair of the Selection Committee, University of California, Berkeley ● Bruce Alberts, National Academy of Sciences ● Mrs. William McCormick Blair, Jr., Lasker Foundation Board of Directors (Non-Voting Member of the Selection Committee) ● Laurie Garrett, Newsday ● Vartan Gregorian, The Carnegie Corporation ● Ruth Kirschstein, National Institutes of Health ● Alfred Sommer, School of Hygiene and Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University