Three winners of the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Charles L. Sawyers of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornelia I. Bargmann of the Rockefeller University and Lewis C. Cantley of Weill Cornell Medical College, have used a portion of their awards to establish a new annual prize for promising postdoctoral trainees. Including financial commitments made by each of their respective institutions, the award will be sustained by a $3 million endowment.
The Tri-Institutional Breakout Awards for Junior Investigators will be given to three to six outstanding postdoctoral trainees every year, with each recipient receiving $25,000. One prize will be awarded to an applicant from each of the three founding institutions, and additional awards will be given to the best candidates, regardless of their institutional affiliation. The inaugural winners will be announced by the end of 2014.
“We want to recognize and encourage the rising stars in science,” says Bargmann, who is Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. “With this prize for exceptional postdocs, we can highlight their talent, passion and accomplishment and celebrate exciting discoveries in our community.”
The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences — established by Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner — “recognizes excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.” Eleven inaugural winners each received $3 million to “advance breakthrough research, celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.”
Bargmann was recognized for her work on the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.