Awards recognise animal research


The role of animals in research has been recognised by one of the most prestigious US medicine awards.


This year’s Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award went to Dieter Oesterhelt of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and Peter Hegemann of the Humboldt University of Berlin, both in Germany, and Karl Deisseroth, of Stanford University, USA.


Their discoveries of light-sensitive microbial proteins, that can activate or silence individual brain cells, and the use in optogenetics – a technique involving the use of light to control brain cells – were made possible after the scientists studies in mice and frogs (see video).


The Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award went to Katalin Karikó of BioNTech, Germany, and Drew Weissman of University of Pennsylvania, USA, who discovered a new therapeutic technology based on the modification of messenger RNA (see video).


This knowledge, founded on decades of animal research, enabled the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines.


The Lasker~Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science honored David Baltimore, of the California Institute of Technology, USA, for his studies in virology, immunology, and cancer.


His research depended on the use of animal models including mice, rats, and non-human primates (see video).

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