Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute and a professor of biology at MIT, is among the recipients of the 2012 Dan David Prize — a prestigious Israeli award for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact. Dan David Prizes are awarded in three categories: "past," "present" and "future." This year, the prize’s international board chose to award its “future” prize in the field of genome research, selecting individuals who have contributed to the scientific community’s understanding of genomic structure and organization and those who have made significant discoveries in the field of synthetic genomics.
Lander shares the $1 million prize in the “future” category with David Botstein and J. Craig Venter for their significant contributions to genome research and pioneering discoveries in genomics. Lander was among the leaders of the Human Genome Project — an unprecedented effort to crack the human genetic code — and has since worked with colleagues to spearhead projects that utilize genomic information to understand the basis of human disease, improve global health, develop novel therapeutics and more.
The prize, named after philanthropist Dan David and administered by Tel Aviv University, is unique in that its recipients donate 10 percent of their prize money to graduate students in their field, supporting the next generation of scholars. Lander and his colleagues will be awarded the prize in Israel in June.
The winners of this year’s award also include historians Robert Conquest and Martin Gilbert in the field of history/biography ("past") as well as South African artist William Kentridge in the field of plastic arts ("present").