About the Prizes
The Michelson Prizes are scientific awards of $150,000 given annually to young investigators who are applying disruptive research concepts and inventive processes to advance vaccine and immunotherapy research for major global diseases.
The 2019 Michelson Prizes have been expanded to include three focus areas: Human Immunology, Computational Biology and Protein Engineering, and Neglected Parasitic Diseases. All focus areas are aimed at supporting research with the potential to transform vaccine and immunotherapy discovery.
This focus area is aimed at research tackling the current roadblocks that exist in human vaccine development and expanding our limited understanding of key immune processes that are fundamental to successful vaccine and immunotherapeutics development, (e.g., immune memory, immune receptor recognition, tissue-specific responses, host-microbe interactions, underlying genetic mechanisms, genetic susceptibility, etc.).
This focus area targets research that utilizes bioinformatics, theoretical methods, mathematical modeling, machine learning and/or computational approaches to elucidate protein structures involved in immune recognition, immunogenicity, protein-ligand interactions, or other biological functions related to the human immune response. Other areas of research that will be considered for funding include protein design studies with the intent of generating novel structures and/or function for the development of antigens or adjuvants, and/or for modulating or targeting host proteins to elicit increased or more specific immune response(s).
This focus area is aimed at research on antigen discovery, immune response mechanisms, and the development and testing of vaccines and immunotherapeutic agents for neglected parasitic diseases. This award is designed to foster research of human parasitic diseases that traditionally have been difficult to study due to antigen complexity and multifaceted host-parasite interactions. NB: This award will not fund malaria research.
A rigorous and competitive global search will identify the most innovative projects from young scientists across a broad spectrum of scientific fields. A distinguished committee of internationally-recognized scientists will review applications. They will be looking for applicants who clearly articulate a vision that challenges current dogma and demonstrates an ability to make a lasting impact on vaccine and immunotherapy research.
The Prizes will be awarded as part of an annual scientific conference on the Future of Vaccine Discovery, which brings together top scientists across disciplines and disease areas.
About the Donors
Dr. Gary K. Michelson is a Board Certified Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon, with more than 900 issued patents worldwide. His work has revolutionized the practice of spinal surgery, making such procedures less invasive, less traumatic, safer, faster, and more effective. Alya Michelson is an accomplished journalist, who has written in, and been published in four different languages.
Together they support a broad array of philanthropic endeavors and operate three foundations that they founded and fund; including a medical research foundation, an education foundation, and an animal welfare foundation. Further information is available at michelsonmedical.org, 20MM.org, and foundanimals.org.