July 24, 2012 | By Bio-IT World Staff
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has embarked upon a global search for its next president to lead its operations.
The Foundation is best known for the annual “Lasker Awards in Medical Research,” often referred to as America’s Nobel Prizes.
The new President will replace Maria Freire, who is stepping down after five years of guiding the Lasker Foundation through a period of substantial programmatic success. Freire will become the head of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, but will stay on until the 2012 Lasker Awards are announced this September.
A Board-led search for a new President is being chaired by Robert Tjian, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Lasker Foundation Board.
Nobel laureate Joseph Goldstein, chair of the Lasker Medical Research Awards jury, said “Our deepest thanks go to Dr. Freire for helping guide the prestigious Lasker Awards to greater prominence and global recognition.”
Commenting on the transition, Alfred Sommer, chairman of the Lasker Foundation Board, said, “These past five years have been among the most rewarding and innovative in the Lasker Foundation’s storied history thanks to Dr. Freire’s commitment to strategically address pressing issues in the funding of medical research. We look forward to the Foundation continuing to expand its growth and impact within the global scientific community under new leadership.”
The Lasker Foundation has, for the past 67 years, championed the greatest advances in medical research. Working closely with the Foundation’s Board, the next chief executive will be responsible for the continued growth and effectiveness of the organization as it builds on the founders’ vision of supporting biomedical research toward conquering disease, improving human health and extending life.
For much of the past century, the Lasker Foundation was led by Mary Lasker, America’s most prominent citizen-activist for public investment in medical research. She is widely credited with prodding the White House and the Congress to greatly expand federal funding for medical research, particularly through the NIH.