A Yale University professor whose research has furthered the understanding of autoimmune diseases and a former financial analyst who founded a popular online academy are among the recipients of major awards in higher education this month:
—Joan A. Steitz, a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, won the 2012 Rockefeller University's Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, which recognizes female scientists who have made exceptional contributions to biomedical science.
The award recognizes Ms. Steitz's work discovering and defining the function of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins in ribonucleic acid, knowledge that could be useful in the diagnosis and treatment of the autoimmune disease lupus. She is also honored for being a role model for young women seeking careers in biomedical research.
The award carries a $100,000 honorarium.
— Salman Khan, a former financial analyst who is founder and executive director of Khan Academy, is one of four "game changers" in education to receive the 2012 Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education.
Mr. Khan is credited by judges with "creating a free, open-source, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything, anytime." The academy's instructional videos have reached a vast audience.
The honor carries a cash award of $50,000.
—Seven research scientists have been named the winners of the 2012 Lasker Awards, which carry a $250,000 cash prize for each category. Winners of the awards have frequently gone on to receive Nobel Prizes.
Michael P. Sheetz of Columbia University, James A. Spudich of Stanford University, and Ronald D. Vale of the University of California at San Francisco will receive the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for their discoveries concerning how cytoskeletal motor proteins move material within cells, which have implications for treating heart disease and cancer.
Sir Roy Calne of the University of Cambridge and Thomas E. Starzl of the University of Pittsburgh will be given the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for developing techniques that allowed surgeons to perform liver transplants.
Donald D. Brown of Baltimore's Carnegie Institution for Science and Tom Maniatis of Columbia have received the Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science for their discoveries about the nature of genes and their support of fellow scientists.