Thomas Südhof and Richard Scheller receive 2013 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award

This morning, the Lasker Foundation announced the recipients of the 2013 Lasker Basic Medical Research Awards. The prize went to Stanford professor Thomas Südhof and former Stanford professor (current Executive VP of Genetech) Richard Scheller, for their work on the molecular machinery underlying rapid release of neurotransmitters. Specifically celebrated are their discoveries of VAMP, synaptobrevin, synaptotagmin, syntaxin, and many additional components of synaptic release machinery.

The Lasker Foundation concluded that:

By systematically exposing and analyzing the proteins involved in neurotransmitter release, Südhof and Scheller have transformed our description of the process from a rough outline to a series of nuanced molecular transactions. Their work has revealed the elaborate orchestrations that lie at the crux of our most simple and sophisticated neurobiological activities. (1)

The Lasker Basic Medical Research Award is given to scientists "whose fundamental investigations have provided techniques, information, or concepts contributing to the elimination of major causes of disability and death (1)." For more on the Awards, visit the Lasker Foundation Award Overview webpage.

For more on the groundbreaking work for which Südhof and Scheller received their award, visit the Lasker Foundation Award Description webpage.

An interview with Südhof and Scheller is also available for your viewing pleasure. Video of the award presentation and acceptance speeches will be available at the Lasker Foundation website, after 2 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2013

Many congratulations to Drs. Südhof and Scheller!

Other Lasker Awards announced today were:

The Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, given to Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake Wilson, for their development of the modern cochlear implant.

The Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, given to Bill and Melinda Gates, for the work achieved through their foundation.



Evelyn Strauss, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award Description.


Astra Bryant

Astra Bryant is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the labs of Drs. Eric Knudsen and John Huguenard. She used in vitro slice electrophysiology to study the cellular and synaptic mechanisms linking cholinergic signaling and gamma oscillations – two processes critical for the control of gaze and attention, which are disrupted in many psychiatric disorders. She is a senior editor and the webmaster of the NeuWrite West Neuroblog