Prominent stem cell group honors Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has named Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch the winner of the 2012 McEwen Award for Innovation.

The award, supported by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, honors “original thinking and groundbreaking research pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine that opens new avenues of exploration towards the understanding or treatment of human disease or affliction.”

Jaenisch is being cited specifically for “his pioneering discoveries in the areas of genetic and epigenetic control of development in mice that directly impact the future potential of embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic utility.”

In announcing the award, current ISSCR President Fred Gage of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, stated: “Rudolf Jaenisch has consistently contributed new and groundbreaking discoveries to stem cell biology and regenerative medicines that have changed the way stem cell research is conducted. Importantly, Rudolf not only has an uncanny sense of the next big question, but also conducts his experiments with such thoughtful and critical experimental design that his results have an immediate impact. This critical attention to detail and experimental design has greatly benefited the many gifted students that have passed through his lab and now populate many of the major stem cell centers throughout the world. Rudolf is very deserving of this award.”

ISSCR President-elect Shinya Yamanaka, who received the inaugural McEwen Award in 2011, concurred, commenting, “Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch has always been on the cutting-edge of our field and his research has been a source of inspiration not only for myself, but has influenced the careers of some of our most esteemed colleagues.”

Jaenisch will receive his $100,000 award in June at the ISSCR annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan.