The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize recognizes individuals whose original translational research has advanced cellular reprogramming technology for regenerative medicine.

The prize was established in 2015 through a generous gift from the late Hiro and Betty Ogawa and is supported by Gladstone Institutes. It recognizes the importance of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, discovered by Gladstone Senior Investigator and Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka.

In the midst of the ongoing pandemic and the shift in focus from members of the scientific community to advancing discoveries related to COVID-19, the Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize committee decided to forego choosing a 2021 recipient. Nominations will reopen in January 2022.

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Each year, the awardee is honored during a ceremony hosted by Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California. The recipient gives a scientific lecture and is presented with the award, along with an unrestricted prize of $150,000 USD.

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Headshot of Gordon Keller


Gordon Keller, PhD

Director of the McEwen Stem Cell Institute at the University Health Network, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto

Keller was selected for his life-long contributions to the efficient, lineage-specific differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into a myriad of cell types. His work enables disease modeling and regenerative medicine approaches for many human diseases.

Headshot of Marius Wernig


Marius Wernig, MD, PhD

Associate Professor at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University

Wernig was selected for his innovative direct neuronal reprogramming technology, and for his contributions to the advancement of therapies for genetic diseases based on iPS cells”. His groundbreaking research has advanced the development of disease models for neurological diseases and skin disorders.

Headshot of Lorenz Studer


Lorenz P. Studer, MD

Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and member of the Developmental Biology Program at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

A distinguished stem cell biologist, Studer was selected for his transformative contributions to the field of cellular reprogramming and the application of human iPS cells to human disease. His groundbreaking research has advanced the therapeutic potential of stem cell–based therapies in Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

Headshot of Doug Melton


Douglas Melton, PhD

Co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Xander University Professor at Harvard University, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Melton was honored for his research that led to a novel way to reprogram human stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells. His work provides the foundation for the ultimate goal of transplanting patient-specific beta cells to treat diabetes.

Headshot of Masayo Takahashi


Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD

Project Leader, Laboratory for Retinal Regeneration at the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology

Takahashi was honored for her trailblazing research that led to the first clinical trial to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in humans. Her work paves the way for using stem cells to treat retinal diseases, including macular degeneration.