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Gladstone Investigator Wins 2019 Prize for Contribution to World Civilization

Jennifer Doudna, the co-inventor of CRISPR genome editing technology, receives 2019 LUI Che Woo Prize for World Civilization.

The LUI Che Woo Prize for World Civilization recently announced three 2019 laureates, including Gladstone Senior Investigator Jennifer A. Doudna. The prize honors individuals or organizations from around the world who have selflessly contributed to the betterment of civilization with their words and deeds.

The prize was established in 2015 by Lui Che Woo, founder of the K. Wah group and a long-time philanthropist. The prize aims to support work in three focus areas: sustainable development of the world, the betterment of the welfare of mankind and promotion of positive life attitude, and enhancement of positive energy.

Doudna won the 2019 Welfare Betterment Prize in recognition for her discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, which has revolutionized gene editing. CRISPR-based technologies have the potential to improve human welfare by leading to novel therapies for genetic and complex diseases. Gene editing could also help to end world hunger by engineering plants with improved crop yield and nutrient value.

“I am delighted to accept this honor from the LUI Che Woo Prize recognizing the CRISPR-Cas9 technology. International accolades such as this can inspire and support scientific advances that better the welfare of people worldwide. On behalf of my students, my colleagues and my collaborators, we appreciate this award and the opportunity to underscore the need for our society to use CRISPR technology responsibly,” stated Doudna, who is also a professor at UC Berkeley, an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the executive director of the Innovative Genomics Institute.

The prize ceremony will take place in Hong Kong on October 3, 2019. Doudna will be honored alongside Fan Jinshi, who was awarded the Positive Energy Prize in recognition of her work studying the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, China, a Buddhist cultural heritage site. The ceremony will also recognize The Nature Conservancy with the Sustainability Prize for its international efforts to fight climate change.

Each laureate receives a cash award of approximately $2.56 million, a certificate, and a trophy.