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Ruth Lehmann wins the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science

4.5.2022 | The developmental geneticist is recognised for her research on germ cells and her mentoring of young female scientists

AcademiaNet member Ruth Lehmann has been announced as the recipient of the 2022 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. The Prize is given to female scientists who have made ‘significant contributions to the science of medicine’ and who have mentored other female scientists.

Prof Lehmann works on germ cells, i.e. the cells that eventually give rise to the egg and sperm cells, which are known as ‘immortal’ because they are passed down to the next generation. Their biological origin, their life cycle and how they pass on biological information to the embryo are the kind of questions Prof Lehmann and her lab tackle at the Whitehead institute for Biomedical Research, of which she is director. She is also Professor of Biology at MIT.

“I’m thrilled to be receiving this honour, recognizing the importance of mentoring and empowering the next generation of scientists,” Prof Lehmann said in a statement. She has mentored many young scientists, just as she herself was mentored during her early career, among others by fellow AcademiaNet member and Nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, in whose lab she completed her PhD.

It has been a particularly fruitful couple of years for her. She was awarded both the 2021 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science and the 2021 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal. Earlier this year, she was given the 2022 Gruber Genetics Prize, alongside her colleagues in the field Prof James Priess and Prof Geraldine Seydoux.

The Vanderbilt Prize comes with a honorarium, a lecture and the opportunity to mentor a promising female PhD candidate, the Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar.

  (© Emilie Steinmark / AcademiaNet /

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