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Two U.S. Researchers Win Prestigious International Science Award
Date:9/9/2008

Champalimaud Vision Award To Johns Hopkins University Scientists

LISBON, Portugal and NEW YORK, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Champalimaud Foundation, one of the largest global science foundations, today announced the recipients of its 2008 Vision Award. The euro 1 million ($1.4 million) Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award, referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Vision" by the former President of India, A.P.J. Kalam, is the largest monetary prize in the field of vision and one of the largest scientific prizes in the world.

The recipients of the 2008 Vision Award are Dr. Jeremy Nathans and Dr. King-Wai Yau, both faculty members at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. The euro 1 million prize will be divided between Drs Nathans and Yau, and may be utilized by each scientist in an unrestricted way to contribute to their research. Drs Nathans and Yau are the first American recipients of the Vision Award.

The 2008 Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award recognizes Dr. Nathans' and Yau's fundamental discoveries related to the first step in seeing: the conversion of light into electrical signals that the brain uses to create vision. Jeremy Nathans determined the genetic code of the human visual pigments, helping to understand how they function and discovering how mutations in their sequence can lead to some retinal diseases. King-Wai Yau showed how the absorption of light by these pigments generates the electrical signals that initiate vision and regulate our natural rhythms. These discoveries are basic to the current understanding of vision.

"Taken individually or together, Drs Nathans and Yau's pioneering research represents breakthroughs of historical proportions," said Champalimaud Foundation President, Leonor Beleza. "Their discoveries of the fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of vision open important avenues for research that, when put to clinical application, will contribute significantly to the global quest to eradicate blindn
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SOURCE The Champalimaud Foundation
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