Nominations for the 2020 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science are now closed. 

About the Vanderbilt Prize:

Vanderbilt Prize winners are women who have made significant contributions to the science of medicine. At Vanderbilt, we believe that for society to benefit from biomedical research, we must engage women in basic and clinical investigation, nurture their careers, and attract the most capable individuals. We created the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science to honor and recognize a woman scientist of national reputation who has a stellar record of research accomplishments and is known for her mentorship of women in science. The Vanderbilt Prize winner also nurtures the career, research, and studies of a promising woman beginning her PhD studies at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar. The prize recipient gives a lecture at Vanderbilt, will serve as a mentor to the Vanderbilt Prize Scholar, and receives an honorarium.


Nominees for the Vanderbilt Prize must be women scientists in any area of basic or clinical research or clinical practice. The nominee must have a national reputation, a stellar record of research accomplishments, and must be an active mentor of other women in science. We encourage nominators to consider women of underrepresented populations when selecting a nominee.

Nomination Process:

There is no limit to the number of qualified women scientists an institution may nominate. A complete nomination packet must include the following, as a single pdf, in the order listed below:

  • Completed nomination form (download template here)

  • A letter of nomination from the nominee’s department chair or dean

  • One letter of recommendation from a distinguished peer in basic or clinical research or in clinical practice

  • Nominee’s complete CV

Nominations for the 2020 Prize will be accepted through September 30. Nomination packets should be emailed as a single pdf to If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Vronko, CMP at 

Vanderbilt Prize Recipients


Christine Seidman, M.D.

Thomas W. Smith Professor in Medicine and Genetics, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Senior Associate, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator


Dr. Seidman will receive the Vanderbilt Prize and present as part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series on September 12, 2019.



Angelika Amon, Ph.D. 

Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor in Cancer Research and Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Member, MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator


Dr. Amon presented a Flexner Discovery Lecture and accepted the Vanderbilt Prize on January 31, 2019. Watch Dr. Amon's lecture titled Effects of Aneuploidy on Cell Physiology and Its Role in Tumorigenesis.



Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D.

J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Director, University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology
Chair, University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science

See a video of Dr. Maquat's Vanderbilt Prize lecture, Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay and Human Disease: Genome Guardian and Executor presented as part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series held on November 29, 2018.



Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D.

Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor of the Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, The Rockefeller University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

See a video of Dr. Fuchs' Vanderbilt Prize lecture, Stem Cells in Science, Action, and Cancer, presented as part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series held on March 30, 2017.



Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.

Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital
Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

See a video of Dr. Zoghbi's Vanderbilt Prize lecture "The Story of Rett Syndrome and the Insight it Provides into Neuropsychiatric Disorders," as a part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series held on April 21, 2016.



Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Member, Whitehead Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

See a video of Dr. Lindquist's Vanderbilt Prize lecture "From Yeast to Human Stem Cells: A Powerful Discovery Platform For Combatting Neurodegenerative Diseases," as part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series held on November 19, 2015,  at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. Dr. Lindquist died of cancer in October 2016.



Laurie Glimcher, M.D.

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College
Provost for Medical Affairs of Cornell University

See a video of Dr. Glimcher's Vanderbilt Prize Lecture "ER Stress Sensors in Disease," as part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series held on Thursday, May 1 at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. Dr. Glimcher is now president and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.



Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D.

Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Yale School of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

As part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture Series, Dr. Steitz presented a Vanderbilt Prize Lecture titled Noncoding RNAs: with a viral twist on May 2, 2013.



Titia de Lange, Ph.D.

Leon Hess Professor and head of the Laboratory for Cell Biology and Genetics
American Cancer Society Research Professor
Director, Anderson Center for Cancer Research
Rockefeller University, New York

Dr. de Lange's Vanderbilt Prize Lecture titled How telomeres solve the end-protection problem was held on February 23, 2012, as part of the Discovery Lecture Series.



Nancy Andrews, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean, Duke University School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

Dr. Andrew presented the Vanderbilt Prize Lecture Forging an Understanding of Iron Homeostasis on March 31, 2011, as part of the Discovery Lecture Series.



Susan Taylor, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Taylor's Vanderbilt Prize Lecture titled Dynamics of Signaling by PKA was held on February 18, 2010, as part of the Discovery Lecture Series.



Ann Graybiel, Ph.D.

Walter A Rosenblith Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Graybiel presented the Vanderbilt Prize Lecture Our Habitual Lives: How the Brain Makes and Breaks Habits on October 30, 2008 as part of the Discovery Lecture Series.



Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D.

Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine
Morris Herzstein Endowed Professor in Biology & Physiology, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Blackburn's presented Telomeres and Telomerase in Health and Disease in the Discovery Lecture Series on January 10, 2008.



Nancy Andreasen M.D., Ph.D.

Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa

Dr. Andreasen presented The Creative Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius in the Discovery Lecture Series on September 28, 2006.