Recognizing Excellence

The Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences

The Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciencesopens in a new window is an annual award given to promising younger investigators who have achieved groundbreaking advances in biomedical science. In 2021, the FNIH honored Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D., for her revolutionary work on developing super-resolution microscopy and genome-scale imaging that revealed new spatial and functional organizations of molecules and cells.

Dr. Zhuang’s innovative work with microscopy has enabled researchers to visualize with high resolution the positioning of and interactions between molecules in a cell, as well as the spatial organization of distinct types of cells in tissues. Her discoveries have made a significant impact across the field of biology, with seminal applications to cell biology.

Dr. Zhuang is a professor at Harvard University, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and co-founder of the life sciences company Vizgen.

The Prize is made possible by a generous gift from noted philanthropist and FNIH Honorary Board Member Ann Lurie.

Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists

The Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientistsopens in a new window was established in 2018 to highlight the essential role of early career clinician-scientists whose research has led or has the potential to lead to innovations in patient care.

In 2021, Piro Lito, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Member and Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was awarded the prize for catalyzing breakthroughs in the understanding of oncoprotein signaling and the development of novel therapeutic approaches for cancer.

Working at the interface of basic research and clinical practice, Dr. Lito studies how mutated proteins drive tumor growth. He is particularly interested in a protein called KRAS, which is commonly mutated in lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Dr. Lito has uncovered how mutant KRAS transitions between its active and inactive states in cancer cells and, by exposing vulnerable events during this transition, he has made key contributions to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for cancer.

Funding for the Trailblazer Prize is provided by the Gallin Fund at the FNIH.

Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award

Each year, the FNIH bestows the Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Awardopens in a new window to recognize people or organizations that have made particularly significant contributions to the Foundation’s efforts to build, implement, and nurture public-private partnerships in support of the mission of the NIH.

In 2021, the FNIH presented the Partnership Award to Janssen Research & Development, LLC, and to the eight Co-Chairs of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Working Groups.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has been an exemplary partner and leader across many FNIH programs, including ACTIV, several Accelerating Medicines Partnerships®, the Biomarkers Consortium, the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). The many Janssen scientists who have participated in these partnerships have consistently promoted a highly collegial, collaborative approach to problem-solving with an emphasis on teamwork and transparent communication that enables open, precompetitive science.

In support of finding therapeutics and vaccines to combat COVID-19, the ACTIV Working Group Co-Chairs spent countless hours collaborating with the FNIH and NIH to design strategies for combating the COVID-19 pandemic and execute them with unprecedented speed. They participated in hundreds of meetings, reporting regularly to the ACTIV Leadership Team, and devoted valuable time and effort to identify opportunities for and help resolve challenges to the partnership. Their all-out efforts were essential to enabling ACTIV to navigate the rapidly changing nature of the threats to global human health posed by SARS-CoV-2.

Funding for the Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award is provided by the Charles A. Sanders Legacy Fund at the FNIH.

Janssen R&D, LLC

Alex Gorsky Executive Chairman,
Johnson & Johnson

The Co-Chairs of the ACTIV Working Groups

Christine M. Colvis, Ph.D. Director of Drug Development Partnership Programs, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH
Elizabeth Desrosiers, M.S., P.M.P. Executive Director of Clinical Sciences and Study Management at Merck & Co., Inc.
Eric Hughes, M.D., Ph.D. Global Head of Clinical Development and Analytics at Novartis
Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D. Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer
Michael Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Division of Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH
Douglas Lowy, M.D. Principal Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute (NCI) at NIH
Sarah Read, M.D. Deputy Director, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH
John Young, Ph.D. Global Head of Infectious Diseases and Vice President at Roche Pharma Research and Early Development