Female scientist holding beaker

To honor the efforts of biomedical scientists, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is awarding its first annual Switzer Prize this spring. The Switzer Prize recognizes the contributions of an individual biomedical investigator whose basic research has led to breakthroughs in patient care.

Most biomedical scientists spend their days working to increase our fundamental understanding of biology, which is essential for advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a myriad of illnesses. Their research provides the foundation for new vaccines, drugs and treatment procedures. While their contributions are invaluable, the researchers themselves often largely go unrecognized.

“These researchers spend their careers focused on solving fundamental problems purely because they have a passion for discovery and want to increase the existing knowledge base about biology and life,” says Stephen T. Smale, PhD, vice dean for research at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Clinical advancements in patient care couldn’t happen without these researchers’ dedicated efforts.”

The recipient of this year’s Switzer Prize will receive a $25,000 award and will travel to UCLA this fall to meet with and deliver a presentation to school of medicine faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows and research staff. “We want this to be an inspirational experience for all involved, especially our researchers here at UCLA,” says Dr. Smale. “It will enrich our own education and research environment by allowing our faculty and students to engage with a highly accomplished scientist.”

Nominations are open to national and international researchers from any institution; however, self-nominations are not accepted. The deadline for nominations is February 28, 2017. A selection committee comprising nine David Geffen School of Medicine faculty members who have research expertise in biological and biomedical sciences will select the award recipient.

The Switzer Prize honors Norman and Irma Switzer, a Pacific Palisades couple who gave a $50 million gift to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2014. To learn more, visit: medschool.ucla.edu/switzer-prize.