The International Transplantation Society has awarded its first Peter Medawar Prize to two researchers in immunology. Jacques Miller and Sir James L. Gowans received the award last month at the society's 13th congress in San Francisco.
The prize honors the late Medawar, winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine and a pioneer in transplantation biology. The award emphasizes the society's commitment to research and clinical achievement and notes the importance of past organ transplantation research to current investigations in immunobiology and cellular immunology.
Miller, head of the Thymus Biology Unit at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, since 1966, has made many contributions to the understanding of the thymus's role in T cell differentiation. After receiving his medical degree from Sydney University Medical School, he went to London University's Faculty of Medicine, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in experimental pathology and immunology in 1965.
Sir James has been recognized for establishing the cellular basis of transplantation immunity and tolerance. He has been secretary-general of the International Human Frontier Science Program, based in Strasbourg, France, since 1989.
The Medawar Prize seeks to recognize the importance of transplantation biology. "Peter Medawar was such an important figure, I don't think it can fail to make people more aware of transplantation biology," says Sir James. "But it is such a burgeoning field that it hardly needs [more publicity]." Sir James relishes the connections he has made in science: He and Medawar once collaborated on an experiment on lymphocyte reinfusion, and he and Miller once shared another award, the 1974 Paul Erlich Prize.
The Medawar prize, endowed by the Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Basel, Switzerland, consists of a medal, a scroll, and $10,000 to be shared by Miller and Gowans.