News from the National Academy of Sciences

January 19, 2021

2021 Allon Klein and Aviv Regev to Receive James Prize in Science and Technology Integration

WASHINGTON – The National Academy of Sciences will award the inaugural James Prize in Science and Technology Integration to Allon Klein, Harvard Medical School, and Aviv Regev, Genentech Research and Early Development. They are receiving the $50,000 prize for “their concurrent development of now widely adopted massively parallel single-cell genomics to interrogate the gene expression profiles that define, at the level of individual cells, the distinct cell types in metazoan tissues, their developmental trajectories, and disease states, which integrated tools from molecular biology, engineering, statistics, and computer science.” The James Prize honors outstanding contributions made by researchers who are able to adopt or adapt information or techniques from outside their fields, integrating knowledge from two or more disciplines (e.g., engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, biomedicine, geosciences, astronomy, or computational sciences) to solve a major contemporary challenge not addressable from a single disciplinary perspective. 

Klein is recognized for innovating high-throughput experimental and mathematical approaches to analyze single-cell transcriptomes at an unprecedented level of detail and discover how cell fate is decided in metazoan tissues. His work combines statistics and physics with molecular biology. He has mapped differentiation hierarchies, identified transitional developmental states to predict features of fate control, and discovered new cell types and regenerative programs.

Regev is credited with forging new ways to unite the disciplines of biology, computational science, and engineering as a pioneer in the field of single-cell biology, including developing some of its core experimental and analysis tools, and their application to discover cell types, states, programs,  environmental responses, development, tissue locations, and regulatory circuits, and deploying these to assemble cellular atlases of the human body that illuminate mechanisms of disease with remarkable fidelity.

The prize, made possible through a generous donation from Robert “Bob” James, will be presented to Klein and Regev virtually during the National Academy of Sciences’ 158th annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Molly Galvin
Director, Executive Communications
Office of News and Public Information
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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