The JOHN EDWARD PORTER LEGACY AWARD is awarded to individuals who show outstanding commitment to sustaining the nation’s world-class leadership in medical and health research.
Dr. Bruce Alberts, the recipient of the 2020 John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie, is a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education. He is now the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Widely recognized for his work in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 20 nonprofit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
During his tenure at the NAS, Dr. Alberts was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education Standards that have been implemented in school systems nationwide. Its “science as inquiry” emphasizes logical, hands-on problem solving, with an insistence on having evidence for claims that can be confirmed by others. Students work in cooperative groups thereby developing self-confidence and an ability to communicate effectively with others. Dr. Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of "The Molecular Biology of the Cell," a preeminent textbook in the field soon to be in its seventh edition. From 2000 to 2009, he served as the co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, a new organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences that was established to provide scientific advice to the world.