The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation awards this year go to researchers who have worked on understanding neurotransmission, developing the modern cochlear implant, and to philanthropists investing in public health, the New York Times reports.
The Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award is to go to Genentech's Richard Scheller and Stanford University's Thomas Südhof for their work elucidating the mechanisms behind the release of neurotransmitters. Scheller uncovered the proteins SNAP-25, syntaxin, and VAMP/synaptobrevin, which have key roles in neurotransmission, while Südhof found that the protein synaptotagmin acts as a calcium sensor, Nature Medicine's Spoonful of Medicine blog notes.
Graeme Clark from the University of Melbourne, Ingeborg Hochmair at Med-El in Austria, and Duke University's Blake Wilson will receive the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their efforts to develop a cochlear implant. Clark and Hochmair, the Spoonful of Medicine blog adds, independently developed components for a multichannel device, and Wilson designed system to allow people with the implant to understand speech without visual cues.
Finally, the Bill and Melinda Gates are to receive the Lasker-Bloomberg
Public Service Award for their foundation's work to improve global health, particularly in developing nations. The foundation, the Times notes, has invested in delivering vaccines and drugs as well as developing a low-cost toilet that doesn't need water.