Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner jointly established a foundation to reward excellence in life sciences, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation. And a Franklin alumna is among the 11 inaugural winners of the $3 million award:
The newly created Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation on Wednesday announces the first 11 winners of an award intended to inject excitement into the sometimes lonely, underfunded quests to understand and combat cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and other maladies.
Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook; Brin, who co-founded Google; and Milner, a venture capitalist, have dipped into their fortunes to sponsor awards worth $3m each, compared with a Nobel prize's monetary value of $1.1m.
Cori Bargmann (BS '81) is the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at Rockefeller University and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior who studies how animals detect and respond to a sensory stimulus. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience. She received her degree in biochemistry at UGA and as an undergraduate, studied with former Franklin College Dean Wyatt Anderson:
"I had to sit down on the floor for a while. I thought it must be a practical joke or a Nigerian scam," said Cornelia Bargmann, 51, who has pioneered work on neural circuits and behaviour at the Rockefeller University. "The scale of this is so outsized I think it will have a huge impact on the life sciences." Asked how she would spend the money she hesitated. "It's so far outside my normal planning I don't know. Get the car fixed?"
Congratulations, Cori. Your alma mater is proud and we know you'll find some great ways to put the money to use.