The Vilcek Foundation is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2024 Vilcek Foundation Prizes in Biomedical Science. Comprising $250,000 in awards, the prizes recognize outstanding immigrant scientists whose work has had a profound impact on biomedical research, with important contributions to medicine and human health. Inaugurated in 2006, the Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science are a testament to our founder Jan Vilcek and the profound impact of immigrants on scientific research and discovery in the United States. Four prizes are awarded in 2024: The Vilcek Prize, and three Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise.
The 2024 Vilcek Prizes in Biomedical Science are awarded to:
- Luciano Marraffini (b. Argentina)
- Gerta Hoxhaj (b. Albania)
- Tomasz Nowakowski (b. Poland)
- Takanori Takebe (b. Japan)
The Vilcek Prize
The Vilcek Prize recognizes a biomedical research scientist with a legacy of accomplishment, whose work has had a profound impact not only on their field, but on science and medicine more broadly. The recipient of the Vilcek Prize receives a commemorative trophy and an unrestricted cash award of $100,000. The 2024 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science is bestowed on Luciano Marraffini.
Luciano Marraffini receives the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science for his pioneering research on the study of CRISPR-Cas systems in bacteria, and on the potential applications for CRISPR-Cas including genome editing. Born in Argentina, Marraffini is the Kayden Family Professor and head of the Laboratory of Bacteriology at the Rockefeller University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise
The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded to early- and mid-career research scientists whose work represents a unique perspective or approach, and whose research has had a significant impact on their field of study. The Creative Promise Prizewinners each receive a commemorative certificate and an unrestricted cash award of $50,000. The 2024 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science are awarded to Gerta Hoxhaj, Tomasz Nowakowski and Takanori Takebe.
Gerta Hoxhaj receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for her work on mapping the molecular links between signaling pathways and metabolic networks of cancer cells with a focus on identifying vulnerabilities that could be used to develop cancer-targeted therapies. Born in Albania, Hoxhaj is an assistant professor with the Children’s Research Institute and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Tomasz Nowakowski receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for the development of technologies to identify and track the regenerative capacity of neural stem cells and neural progenitor cells in the human brain. Born in Poland, Nowakowski earned his PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is now an associate professor of Neurological Surgery and Anatomy.
Takanori Takebe receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for developing vascularized three-dimensional human organoid tissue from pluripotent stem cells that can be transplanted in humans, paving the way for targeted approaches to intractable liver diseases. Born in Japan, Takebe earned his MD and PhD at Yokohama City University School of Medicine. He is an associate professor with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.