Jennifer Doudna has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The prize, awarded annually since 2001, was created through a generous gift from the Nierenberg family to honor William A. Nierenberg (1919-2000), a renowned national science leader who served Scripps Institution of Oceanography as director from 1965 to 1986. Doudna, a faculty scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry at UC Berkeley, will join the ranks of previous winners, including NASA astronaut and administrator Charles Bolden, filmmaker Sir David Attenborough, primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, and filmmaker James Cameron. In a statement, the Nierenberg family conveyed that they are “thrilled with the selection of Jennifer Doudna as the 2019 recipient of the William A. Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. [She] has literally changed the world with her research on gene editing, with tremendous benefits for the future of humankind and the planet.”
Doudna also was selected as the recipient of the Microbiology Society’s 2019 Prize Medal, awarded annually to an outstanding microbiologist who is a global leader in the field and whose work has had a far-reaching impact beyond the discipline. Doudna was recognized for discovering and developing next-generation CRISPR-Cas tools. She joins Jillian Banfield, a faculty scientist in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA) with a secondary appointment in Biosciences’ Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division, who won the Prize Medal in 2018 for using metagenomics to provide a new view of the tree of life. Christof Fellman, a former postdoc in the Doudna lab and current collaborator, delivered the Prize Medal Lecture at the Society’s annual conference on Doudna’s behalf.