Marc Tessier-Lavigne will receive the Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research. The Prize, established by the Friends of Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, recognizes exceptional innovation by a visionary health leader of international stature. Tessier-Lavigne will receive the prize and deliver a public lecture on September 19, 2012 in Ottawa.
Tessier-Lavigne pioneered the identification of molecules that direct the formation of connections among nerve cells to establish neuronal circuits in the mammalian brain and spinal cord. The mechanisms he has identified are important for understanding how the human brain forms during normal development and in other processes, including nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury and neurodegeneration, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease. He has been a featured guest on The Charlie Rose Show and was named a “Leader for the 21st Century” by Time Magazine Canada.
A native of Trenton, Canada, Tessier-Lavigne received undergraduate degrees from McGill University and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received a Ph.D. in neurophysiology from University College London in 1987, and performed postdoctoral work at University College London and at Columbia University. From 1991 to 2003, he held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco, and at Stanford University, where he was the Susan B. Ford Professor in the Humanities and Sciences. He was also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined Genentech, a leading biotechnology company, in 2003, where he became executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer in 2009. He joined Rockefeller as president and professor and head of the Laboratory of Brain Development and Repair in March 2011.
Tessier-Lavigne is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine, a fellow of The Royal Society, a fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to the Friesen Prize, he has received numerous awards, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Biomedical Research, the Gill Distinguished Award in Neuroscience and the W. Alden Spencer Award.
The Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research was established in 2005 by the Friends of Canadian Institutes of Health Research in recognition of Friesen’s distinguished leadership, vision and innovative contributions to health and health research. The $35,000 Friesen Prize is awarded annually.