The 15th Annual Discover Awards for Innovation

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A cool, well-organized mind may be essential for parsing data, but sighting—and clearing—a new scientific frontier depends on a kind of stubborn, dreamy get-up-and-go. Cynthia Kenyon, for example, defied convention by believing that a tiny worm could hold clues to human aging. • Napoleone Ferrara persisted—when others doubted—in believing that blocking a tumor’s blood supply could help slow cancerous growth. • And more than a decade ago Stephen Fodor believed it possible to scan the entire human genome using a silicon chip the size of a postage stamp. All five Discover Award winners for 2004 have weathered doubts about their vision, and each has countered those doubts with steady progress and impressive innovation. And they enjoyed themselves along the way. • Stephen Fodor says: “I think the big fun to me was always just doing experiments. It’s amazing the results you can get if you just do the experiments. That’s what a lot of science is. There are a lot of really, really good ideas in science. There’s no lack of good ideas. But there is a lack in the number of people who will actually do the experiments required to test those ideas.” Meet five winners who had the ideas—and tested their ideas.

Neuroscience: John Donoghue

Public Health: Carol Bellamy

Basic Research: Cynthia Kenyon

Medicine: Napoleone Ferrara

Genetics: Stephen Fodor





Thomas R. Cech, president, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Daniel Koshland, professor of molecular biology, University of California at Berkeley

Kary B. Mullis, founder, Altermune, LLC, Newport Beach, California

Bruce Stillman, director, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Carlyle B. Storm, director emeritus, Gordon Research Conferences, Kingston, Rhode Island


Aravinda Chakravarti, director, McKusick-Nathan Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

Mary-Claire King, professor of medicine and genome sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Stephen J. O’Brien, chief, Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland

Margaret Pericak-Vance, director, Duke Center for Human Genetics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina



Stephen T. Warren, professor of human genetics, Emory University, Atlanta

Catherine DeAngelis, editor, Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago

Brian J. Druker, director, Leukemia Center, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon

Juan Carlos López, editor in chief, Nature Medicine, New York City

Charles Vacanti, professor of anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Nancy Andreasen, professor of psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City

Michael Gazzaniga, director of the program in cognitive neuroscience, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Joseph LeDoux, professor of neural science and psychology, New York University, New York City

Larry R. Squire, professor of psychiatry, neurosciences, and psychology, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine

Gary Westbrook, senior scientist, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon


Rita Colwell, professor of public health, University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and chairman, Canon US Life Sciences Inc.

Donna Shalala, president, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida

Alfred Sommers, dean, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore

Harrison C. Spencer, president and CEO, Association of Schools of Public Health, Washington, D.C.

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