J. Michael Bishop to Receive Research!America Advocacy Award

Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WASHINGTON-March 8, 2011-Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop, MD, chancellor emeritus, university professor and director of the G.W. Hooper Research Foundation at the University of California, San Francisco, will receive Research!America's 2011 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership. The award recognizes Bishop's decades of tireless and effective advocacy for medical research as the future of better health and for his efforts to improve the public understanding of science.

Bishop will be honored March 15, 2011, at the 15th Annual Research!America Advocacy Awards event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium  in Washington, DC.

In 1993 Bishop coauthored a seminal paper in Science with colleagues Harold Varmus and Marc Kirschner citing limited financial resources as a key factor slowing the productivity of research. The first national call for doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the article was a turning point, inspiring advocates and members of Congress to fight for doubling of the NIH budget, which began in 1998 and was completed in 2003. In 2006, the second year of NIH flat-funding following the doubling, Bishop co-authored an editorial in Science with Varmus urging scientists to become advocates for their work.      

Bishop's further contributions to research advocacy include service on numerous advisory boards, including the Advisory Council for the Director of the NIH and the National Cancer Advisory Board under President Clinton, which he chaired for three years, and more than 250 speaking engagements in which he effectively created allies for science among the general public. Among his many contributions was his 17-year service as program liaison to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, for which he arranged 10 or more presentations each year by scientists to update members of Congress on current research. He is also the author of more than 300 research publications and reviews and of the book How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science

In 1989, Bishop was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Harold Varmus for the discovery that growth regulating genes in normal cells can malfunction and initiate the abnormal growth processes of cancer. Bishop has received numerous awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research and the 2003 National Medal of Science.

Bishop became chancellor of UCSF in 1998. Under his leadership, UCSF built and opened its innovative Mission Bay Campus with state-of-the-art biomedical research facilities. He continues to teach medical students and supervise a research team at UCSF studying the molecular pathogenesis of cancer. 

Award benefactors Beverly and Raymond R. Sackler, MD, are long-standing Research!America supporters. Raymond Sackler is a Research!America emeritus director.

Other 2011 Research!America Advocacy Award winners are the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC); acclaimed broadcast journalist Charlie Rose; U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL); inventor and physicist Dean Kamen; and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

Pictures of Bishop and the Advocacy Awards event will be available on March 16 at: http://www.researchamerica.org/march15.

Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. The 2011 Advocacy Awards represent Research!America's 15th year of recognizing the accomplishments of leading advocates for medical and health research. For more information, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy_awards.

Media Contacts

Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco