The Academy has been awarding a medal for distinguished contributions in biomedical science since 1929 to an eminent scientist in biomedicine. The recipient should be a senior investigator with evidence of sustained accomplishments in biomedical research and a special interest in translating research findings to advance human health.  The recipient must have made identifiable, unique contribution(s) to a field or discipline with demonstrated impact on both research and training.

Eligibility Requirements

Award candidates demonstrating extraordinary contributions in biomedical science must be nominated via the Nominations Committee’s process (see Application Process below). The awardee must be available to accept the award in-person at the Academy’s Anniversary Discourse and Awards ceremony in November.

Application Process

During the first quarter of the year, a message is sent on behalf of the Nominations Committee to all Academy Fellows and Members soliciting nominations for the Academy’s five annual awards that are bestowed at the Annual Meeting of the Fellows and Discourse and Awards Ceremony in November. The task of the Nominations Committee is to recommend a list of nominees (two individuals per award, allowing for an alternate in case the first choice is unable to attend the November meeting) based on the submitted nominations. The nominees are discussed at great length and it is decided as a group which two names for each award should be advanced for consideration—there is the first candidate and then an alternate if the first choice cannot accept. The Academy President, Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, extends the invitations to those selected. 

Award Information

The award recipient accepts the award in-person at the Academy’s Anniversary Discourse and Awards ceremony in November.


Previous Recipients
  • 2016 Richard P. Lifton
  • 2015 Charles L. Sawyers
  • 2014 Stuart Schreiber
  • 2013 Rudolf Jaenisch
  • 2012 Elaine Fuchs
  • 2011 Susan Band Horwitz
  • 2010 James S. Jackson
  • 2009 Eric S. Lander
  • 2008 Joan A. Steitz
  • 2007 Stanley N. Cohen
  • 2006 Bert Vogelstein
  • 2005 Elizabeth H. Blackburn
  • 2004 Irving L. Weissman
  • 2003 Wayne A. Hendrickson
  • 2002 James E. Darnell, Jr.
  • 2001 Richard Axel
  • 2000 Harold Varmus
  • 1999 James D. Watson
  • 1998 Judah Folkman
  • 1997 David Baltimore
  • 1996 Eric R. Kandel
  • 1995 William Trager
  • 1994 Harold S. Ginsberg
  • 1993 John H. Laragh
  • 1992 Robert F. Furchgott
  • 1991 Maria I. New
  • 1990 Matthew Scharff
  • 1989 Elvin A. Kabat
  • 1988 Paul F. Cranefield, Brian Hoffman
  • 1987 Thomas C. Chalmers
  • 1986 Irving S. Wright
  • 1985 Lloyd J. Old
  • 1984 Vincent P. Dole
  • 1983 Edwin D. Kilbourne
  • 1982 Rene Dubos
  • 1981 Karl Meyer
  • 1980 Erwin Chargaff
  • 1979 Maclyn McCarty
  • 1978 Saul Krugman
  • 1977 Henry G. Kunkel
  • 1976 Charles A. Ragan, Jr.
  • 1975 George Hirst
  • 1974 H. Sherwood Lawrence
  • 1973 Rebecca Lancefield
  • 1972 James A. Shannon
  • 1971 Solomon Berson
  • 1970 Harry Eagle
  • 1969 Harold W. Brown
  • 1968 Michael Heidelberger
  • 1967 Donald D. Van Slyke
  • 1966 Samuel Z. Levine, Rustin McIntosh
  • 1965 Richard E. Shope
  • 1964 Gilbert J. Dalldorf
  • 1963 Andre Cournand, Dickinson W. Richards
  • 1962 Paul Klemperer
  • 1961 E. V. McCollum
  • 1960 Eugene L. Opie
  • 1959 Peyton Rous
  • 1958 Alphonse R. Dochez
  • 1956 Eugene F. DuBois
  • 1955 Allen O. Whipple
  • 1954 Edwards A. Park
  • 1953 Rufus Cole
  • 1947 James Alexander Miller
  • 1944 Oswald T. Avery
  • 1938 Bela Schick
  • 1936 Alfred Newton Richards
  • 1934 Charles Norris
  • 1931 David Marine
  • 1929 Carl Koller