The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Hosts 11th Annual Awards Ceremony

Celebration of team science benefiting biomedical research features recipients of  the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, the Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists, and the Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) celebrated some of today’s most exciting advances in health science at its 11th Annual Awards Ceremony, Wednesday, October 18, 2023, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ new cultural landmark, the REACH.

In a special evening framed by the FNIH’s mission to build bridges to biomedical breakthroughs, the event brought together its partners representing the public, private, and patient community, including leaders and scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), life sciences companies, patient advocates, and academia.

FNIH President and CEO Dr. Julie Gerberding began the evening with appreciation of all supporters and those present, including Dr. Lawrence Tabak, NIH’s Acting Director; Dr. Robert Califf, Commissioner of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; Ann Lurie, Honorary FNIH Board Member and creator of the Lurie Prize; Drs. Elaine and John Gallin, supporters of the Trailblazer prize; Fred Seigel, FNIH Board member and Event Chair; Dr. Steve Paul, FNIH Board Chair, as well as other members of the FNIH Board; and the award recipients.

“We are fortunate to be living in an unprecedented age of progress in biomedical research,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, FNIH President and CEO. “With innovations such as the growing applications of mRNA, immunotherapy, gene therapy, vaccine development, non-invasive biomarkers, and treatment options we never imagined might exist, just think what the next decade and beyond could bring.”

The program featured an engaging conversation between Dr. Gerberding and the two Lurie Prize awardees about their research into the potential impact of mitochondria on human health and disease. The two Lurie Prize awardees, Dr. Navdeep Chandel of Northwestern University and Dr. Vamsi Mootha of Harvard University, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received the prestigious Lurie Prize accompanied by a $50,000 honorarium each for their individual contributions to the field of mitochondrial research, described in the FNIH’s Lurie Prize video featured in the evening program. The prize is annually made possible by a donation to the FNIH by philanthropist Ann Lurie, President of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation and President of Lurie Holdings, Inc.

The Trailblazer Prize awardee, Dr. Vinod Balachandran of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, received recognition and a $10,000 honorarium for his research on new immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer, including the potential of using personalized mRNA vaccines to transform cancer treatment. The prize is annually made possible by a generous donation from Drs. John and Elaine Gallin to the FNIH.

The three recipients of the Partnership Award – NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), GSK, and the O’Neill Family – have partnered with the FNIH over many years on impactful initiatives focused on improving maternal health; exploring new diagnoses, therapeutics, and potential cures for Alzheimer’s disease, tuberculosis, and kidney cancer, among others; and discovering new biomarkers for earlier and improved treatment of disease. Accepting the awards were Dr. Diana Bianchi, Director of NICHD; Dame Emma Walmsley, GSK CEO and Board Director; and the O’Neill Family representative Brian O’Neill.

The FNIH gratefully acknowledges its Awards Ceremony Premier Sponsors Steven and Jann Paul, MD, Johnson & Johnson, and Fred and Donna Seigel, and Visionary Sponsors the Gerberding-Rose Family Fund, GSK, Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation, Gilbert S. Omenn, MD, PhD and Martha A. Darling, and The Edmond J. Safra Foundation.

Learn more about the FNIH Awards Ceremony here. A gallery of highlights from the FNIH 11th Annual Awards Ceremony can be viewed here.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health:
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) builds public-private partnerships that connect leading biomedical scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), life sciences companies, foundations, academia, and regulatory agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. Through team science, we solve complex health challenges and accelerate breakthroughs for patients, regardless of who they are or what health challenges they face. The FNIH accelerates new therapies, diagnostics, and potential cures; advances global health and equity in care; and celebrates and helps train the next generations of scientists. Established by Congress in 1990 to support the mission of the NIH, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information about the FNIH, please visit

This event was an external rental presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center Campus Rentals Office and was not produced by the Kennedy Center.