Richard Lounsbery Award

Richard Lounsbery Award

About the Richard Lounsbery Award

The Richard Lounsbery Award is a $75,000 prize given in alternate years by the National Academy of Sciences and the French Académie des Sciences, to young (no older than 45) French and American scientists to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement in biology and medicine.  In addition to honoring scientific excellence, the award is intended to stimulate research and encourage reciprocal scientific exchanges between the United States and France. The Richard Lounsbery Award was established by Vera Lounsbery in honor of her husband, Richard Lounsbery, and is supported by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

Most Recent American Recipient

Michelle Monje, Stanford University School of Medicine, received the 2023 Richard Lounsbery Award.

Monje’s pioneering work has fundamentally changed our view about the communication between neurons and glial cells in normal brain function and in neurological disorders, particularly brain cancers.

Read more about Monje's work 
Watch Monje's acceptance speech» 

Most Recent French Recipient

Claire Wyart, Inserm research director at Paris Brain Institute, received the 2022 Richard Lounsbery Award, presented by the Institut de France Académie des Sciences on October 18, 2022 during a ceremony under the Cupola of the Institut de France. 

Wyart is being recognized for her outstanding research on the Sensory interface between central nervous system and cerebrospinal fluid that controls our posture and movements. Dr. Wyart will present her research at the Académie des sciences on June 21 2022.
Read more about Wyart's work 

Award History

First awarded in 1979 to Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein for their work in cholesterol biosynthesis, the Richard Lounsbery Award has been at the forefront of recognizing some of the most significant discoveries in the biomedical sciences by leading U.S. and French researchers. Previous recipients of the Richard Lounsbery Award continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. Five recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science, nine recipients have received a Lasker Award, and nine recipients have received a Nobel Prize in Medicine (Goldstein 1985; Brown 1985; Blobel 1999; Gilman 1994; Rodbell 1994; Axel 2004; Prusiner 1997; Rothman 2013; Greider 2009). 

Award Lecture Series

Jay Shendure will present the 2020 Richard Lounsbery Award Lecture, entitled “Global, Single Cell Views of Human and Mouse Development,” at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The lecture will be open to the public and webcast live. Due to developments in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), paying particular attention to conditions surrounding the evolving outbreak in Seattle, we have decided to postpone the lecture.


Michelle Monje (2023)
For her groundbreaking discoveries that neuronal activity promotes adaptive myelination important for cognition, and that neuronal activity drives malignant glioma progression through neuron-to-glioma synapses and paracrine factors. These contributions have elucidated new perspectives in neuroscience and pioneered the field of cancer neuroscience.
Read more about Monje's work
Watch Monje's acceptance speech» 

Claire Wyart (2022)
For her outstanding research on the Sensory interface between central nervous system and cerebrospinal fluid that controls our posture and movements.
Read more about Wyart's work

Feng Zhang (2021)
For pioneering achievements in the field of genome editing, including the discovery of novel CRISPR systems and their development as molecular tools.
Read more about Zhang's work 
Watch Zhang's acceptance speech 

Marie Manceau (2020)
For her remarkable work in developmental biology, in particular training and evolution of periodic patterns on the plumage of birds.
Read more about Manceau's work 

Jay Shendure (2019)
For his pioneering work and leadership in the second wave of genomics that is transforming genetics and medicine. Through his development of exome sequencing and other novel technologies, he has defined new paradigms for implicating Mendelian disease genes, interpreting genetic variation, and single cell profiling of developmental lineages and gene regulation in whole organisms.
Read more about Shendure's work 
Watch Shendure's acceptance speech

Yohanns Bellaïche (2018)
For his work on the genetic and mechanical regulation that underlies tissue proliferation, homeostasis and repair in physiological and pathological conditions (using a combination of interdisciplinary approaches involving sophisticated imaging, genetics, large-scale molecular approaches, and computational analyses) including the mechanisms of local and long-range mechano-sensing during cytokinesis that remodel the dividing cell adherens junction. 

Pardis Christine Sabeti (2017)
For groundbreaking contributions to genetics and global health, including development of new methods to study evolutionary selection in humans and viruses, creation of new collaborative models for combatting emerging diseases across disciplinary and national borders, and leadership of global efforts to increase data sharing in pandemics including Ebola and Lassa Fever.
Read more about Sabeti's work»
Watch Sabeti's acceptance speech
Watch 2017 Lounsbery Lecture at University of Massachusetts, Boston "Genomic Surveillance and Response System for Infectious Disease Outbreaks"» 

Bruno Klaholz (2016)
For his work in Structural Biology (by X-ray diffraction and cryo-electron microscopy methods) on the regulation of gene expression at both the transcriptional level (structures of the nuclear receptors to retinoic acid and vitamin D) and the protein translation level (initiation and termination complexes, and the structure of the human ribosome). 

Hopi Hoekstra (2015)
For her work probing the molecular basis of how adaptation to novel selective pressures establishes and sustains diversity during evolution. Her tour-­‐de-­‐force transdisciplinary studies have illuminated a fundamental mechanism by which complex behaviors can evolve through multiple genetic changes each affecting distinct behavioral modules.
Read more about Hoekstra's work»
Watch Hoekstra's acceptance speech
Watch 2015 Lounsbery Lecture at Smith College "Digging for genes that affect mammalian behaivor"» 

Frédéric Saudou (2014)
For his major contributions to the understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms causing Huntington’s disease.  His findings represent a seminal discovery in the understanding of Huntington’s disease and an important step towards a future therapeutic strategy.

Karl Deisseroth (2013)
For pioneering the technology called optogenetics in which insertion of a single bacterial protein into a neuron allows exquisite control of the neuron with light.

Olivier Pourquié (2012)
For his work in embryonic patterning in vertebrates and particularly in the genetic and developmental mechanisms that control segmentation.

Bonnie L. Bassler (2011)
For her pioneering discoveries of the universal use of chemical communication among bacteria and the elucidation of structural and regulatory mechanisms controlling bacterial assemblies.

Gérard Karsenty (2010)
For his work on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation and the remodeling of bone.

Cornelia I. Bargmann (2009)
For her extraordinarily inventive and successful use of molecular and classical genetics to probe the individual nerve cell basis of behavior in C. elegans.

Jean-Laurent Casanova (2008)
For his contributions to the understanding the genetic basis of the predisposition to viral and bacterial diseases of childhood, which have important clinical implications for the diagnostic and management of infectious diseases.

Xiaodong Wang (2007)
For his pioneering biochemical studies on apoptosis, which have elucidated a molecular pathway leading into and out of the mitochondrion and to the nucleus.

Catherine Dulac (2006)
For her major contributions in the perception and behavioral translation of pheromones in mammals.

John Kuriyan (2005)
For his critical role in revealing the structural mechanisms underlying processivity in DNA replication and the regulation of tyrosine kinases and their interacting target proteins.

Brigitte Kieffer (2004)
For her pioneering work on the molecular neurobiology of opioid-controlled behaviors, the results of which have very important implications for the treatment of pain, drug abuse, and emotional disorders.

Carol W. Greider (2003)
For her pioneering biochemical and genetic studies of telomerase, the enzyme that maintains the ends of chromosomes in eukaryotic cells.

Denis Le Bihan (2002)
For his work on the invention and development of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of brain diffusion and perfusion. The method he developed permits in vivo mapping of nerve fiber bundles and has multiple applications in both medical pathology and cognitive science fields.

Elaine Fuchs (2001)
For her fundamental insights into structure and function of cytoskeletal proteins and the relation of these proteins to human genetic diseases.

Miroslav Radman (2000)
For his contribution to the discovery of the molecular mechanisms implicated in the replication and repair of DNA, in particular, the discovery of a key enzyme of the DNA repair mechanism.

Elliot M. Meyerowitz (1999)
For his pioneering contributions to the molecular genetics of plant architecture, which have practical implications for agriculture.

Pascale Cossart (1998)
For her fundamental discoveries in microbiology dealing with mechanisms of bacterial entry and intracellular host motility.

James E. Rothman (1997)
For his dissection of the biochemical mechanisms by which proteins are transferred from one cellular compartment to another and to the outside world. These mechanisms are important in neurotransmission, tissue biogenesis, and hormonal secretion.

Daniel Louvard and Jacques Pouysségur (1996)
For their contributions to the study of the regulation of cell division and differentiation.

Douglas A. Melton (1995)
For showing how cells and tissues differentiate during vertebrate development through studies on localized mRNAs in eggs and the genes that induce mesoderm and neural tissue.

Jean Louis Mandel (1994)
For his work in human genetics and in particular for his discovery of the mutation of fragile X. This new type of mutation has now been found at the origin of the diseases.

Stanley B. Prusiner and Bert Vogelstein (1993)
For their distinct and exciting discoveries about the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and malignant diseases. This award is given as a celebration of the power of modern molecular medicine.

Philippe Ascher and Henri Korn (1992)
For their discoveries of the mechanisms of synaptic transmission. Philippe Asher furthered knowledge regarding the properties of glutamate receptors which play an important role in trials, and Henri Korn brought to light the elementary liberation of neurotransmitter in quanta form in the central nervous system of vertebrates.

Marc W. Kirschner (1991)
For elucidating key steps in the cell cycle, chromosome movement, cell cycle timing, nucleus breakdown and reformation, and microtubule control of cell polarity and mitosis.

Harold Weintraub (1991)
For elucidating a molecular mechanism by which a single regulatory gene can lead to a program of cell differentiation.

Jean Rosa (1990)
For his contributions, which have opened a new road in the control of oxygen transport in the blood and the treatment of the first worldwide genetic plague, drepanocytosis.

Richard Axel (1989)
For his discoveries elucidating gene structure in animal cells.

François Cuzin (1988)
For his original contributions in the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in malignant cell transformation, in particular, demonstration of the necessary contribution of two oncogenes.

Alfred G. Gilman and Martin Rodbell (1987)
For their discoveries regarding the proteins and mechanisms that mediate cellular responses to the binding of ligands to cell surface receptors.

André Capron and Jacques Glowinski (1986)
For their fundamental work, which has contributed to the treatment of parasitic and neurological diseases.

Martin Gellert and Thomas Maniatis (1985)
For their seminal contributions to our understanding of the structure and function of DNA, which were essential and fundamental to the development of recombinant DNA techniques.

Maxime Schwartz (1984)
For his genetic and biochemical analysis of the maltose system of E.Coli, which paved the way for the solution of a series of fundamental problems in molecular biology.

Günter Blobel (1983)
For his work in uncovering the molecular interactions that control the traffic of newly synthesized proteins in eukaryotic cells, for his incisive experiments, and for the beauty of the findings by which he established these interactions.

Pierre Chambon and Jean Pierre Changeux (1982)
For their work on fundamental structures of genetic material and of the nervous system.

Philip Leder (1981)
For his series of notable contributions in molecular genetics, which help to explain the means by which genetic information is organized and used to direct the synthesis of specific cell products.

François Morel (1980)
For his work on the physiology of the kidney.

Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein (1979)
For their work in cholesterol biosynthesis.

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