2007 Prize Recipients
The Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science
Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D.
A native of Germany, Rudolf Jaenisch followed somewhat half-heartedly in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both doctors, by pursuing studies in medicine at the University of Munich. Though he received his MD degree from the University, his true passion—biomedical research—was ignited at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. Jaenisch's outstanding graduate thesis focused on the increasingly important field of bacteriophage replication and expression, which was prepared under the tutelage of Peter Hans Hofschneider, head of one of Germany's leading laboratories where Jaenisch conducted research as a medical student.
After two years of post-graduate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Dr. Jaenisch set his sights on a postdoctoral position in the United States, and joined Arnold Levine at Princeton University to work with tumor viruses in mammalian systems. Dr. Levine generously supported Dr. Jaenisch to visit and collaborate with Dr. Beatrice Mintz at the Fox Chase Center for Cancer Research in Philadelphia. In the laboratory of Dr. Mintz, an eminent developmental geneticist, Dr. Jaenisch learned the embryological techniques that would lead to the development of the first transgenic mice carrying foreign sequences in all tissues —an approach that has proved to be critically important to understanding cancer, neurological and connective tissue diseases, and developmental abnormalities. Successful creation of transgenic mice by Dr. Jaenisch is considered the first proof of the feasibility of gene therapy in the intact mammalian organism.
Dr. Jaenisch's pioneering work in transgenic research has helped to establish the science of DNA modification, genomic imprinting, nuclear cloning, and, most recently, stem-cell research. He is best known for his expertise in cloning mice and demonstrating the viability of gene therapy through the cloning process. Most recently, Dr. Jaenisch and his colleagues have shown that it is possible to isolate embryonic stem cells without harming an embryo through a process known as "altered nuclear transfer." Nuclear cloning is an experimental approach that helps to understand the role of "epigenetics" or non-mutation related changes of the genome. Today, nuclear cloning is one of the essential tools in Dr. Jaenischs laboratory studies of human diseases, including his groundbreaking work on the nature and potential treatment of cancer. This work is highly relevant to the issues of human reproductive cloning and research on human embryonic stem cells. In recent years, Dr. Jaenisch has helped to educate the public about this controversial research through lectures and interviews with news media.
Dr. Jaenisch is Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where he established the Human Stem Cell Facility in 2005. Dr. Jaenischs pioneering work leading to the creation of transgenic mice has earned him numerous international awards and recognition, including the first Peter Gruber Prize in Genetics (2001), the Robert Koch Prize for Excellence in Scientific Achievement (2002), the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Foundation Cancer Award (2003), and the Max-Delbrück Medal for Molecular Medicine (2006). Dr. Jaenisch was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2003.
The Vilcek Prize in The Arts
Denise Scott Brown
Denise Scott Brown is an architect, urban planner, author and educator. As one of the most innovative thinkers of her generation she has opened the field of mainstream modernist architecture to global experiences and issues previously overlooked in the discipline. Her practice and writing has embraced such disparate ideas as pluralism and multiculturalism, social justice and activism, Pop Art, popular culture, economics, computer theory, and many other contemporary issues impacting architecture and urbanism today.
Born in Zambia and raised in Johannesburg, Ms. Scott Brown received her education at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, the Architectural Association of London, and the University of Pennsylvania. She received master's degrees in city planning and architecture from Penn and spent five years on its faculty. She has also taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, and has lectured and advised worldwide on architecture, urbanism, and education.
At Penn, Ms. Scott Brown began her professional association with Robert Venturi, who served on the faculty with her and, since 1967, has been her partner at the Philadelphia firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, where the emphasis is on collaboration, shared achievement, and the integral role of staff and associates. The firm's projects include the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London, the Conseil Général complex in Toulouse, and the Mielparque Nikko Kirifuri hotel and spa near Nikko, Japan.
As principal-in-charge for urban planning, urban design, and campus planning, Ms. Scott Brown's work has included urban planning for South Street in Philadelphia, Miami Beach, and Memphis, Tennessee; programming for the National Museum of the American Indian; and, a plan for the Bouregreg Valley in Morocco. In 2001, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presented a retrospective exhibition of the work of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates.
Ms. Scott Brown has made a particularly significant contribution to the experience of American higher learning, providing campus plans for numerous universities, including Penn, Dartmouth, Bryn Mawr, Michigan, Kentucky, Williams, Brown, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. She is a noted expert on campus planning and has also recently written on urban planning and design for the World Trade Center site and New Orleans.
Ms. Scott Brown is widely published in professional journals and the architectural press. Her works include, with Robert Venturi, Architecture as Signs and Systems for a Mannerist Time (2004); Urban Concepts (1990); and, with Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas (1972; revised edition 1977).
Her contributions have been recognized with innumerable awards and honorary degrees, including the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Medal, ACSA-AIA Topaz Medallion for distinguished teaching in architecture, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Benjamin Franklin Medal, the National Medal of Arts, the Republic of Italy's Commendatore of the Order of Merit, and The Chicago Architecture Award, the Philadelphia Hall of Fame Award, and the Edith Wharton Women of Achievement Award.
Are you or is someone you know eligible for a 2014 Vilcek Foundation Creative Promise Prize in Biomedical Science or Design? Check eligibility requirements, and apply online. Deadline: August 14, 2013.
See photos from our awards presentation gala, which included a special surprise performance from Vilcek Prize winner Yo-Yo Ma!
The Vilcek Trophy
Our commemorative prize sculptures are each uniquely designed by Austrian-born designer Stefan Sagmeister, a testament to the individual circumstances and achievements of each Vilcek Prize winner.
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