Sabatini Winner of the 2017 Lurie Prize

May 4, 2017

David M. Sabatini, MD, PhD, has been declared the winner of the 2017 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

David M. Sabatini, MD, PhD

David M. Sabatini, MD, PhD, has been declared the winner of the 2017 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). He was recognized for his work in discovering the mTOR cellular pathway as a key regulator of growth and metabolism in response to nutrients. The award was presented to Sabatini on May 17 at the FNIH Award Ceremony held in Washington, DC.

Sabatini is a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

His research has led to the discovery of the protein components of the mTOR pathway, including mTOR Complex 1 (mTORC1) and Complex 2 (mTORC2), as well as an understanding of the way mTOR regulation and dysregulation affects normal and diseased physiology. As caloric restriction is associated with the slowing of cellular aging, Sabatini’s research suggests that the mTOR pathway could one day be manipulated to make the body mimic a fasting state even under nutrient replete conditions, which would help to protect against age-related diseases such as cancer and diabetes, according a press release from FNIH.

“We are delighted to honor Dr. Sabatini with the 2017 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences for discoveries related to the mTOR nutrient sensing pathway,” Maria C. Freire, PhD, president and executive director of the FNIH, said in the statement. “Sabatini’s research is seminal, innovative and impactful—attributes that are the hallmark of all Lurie Prize awardees.”

The Lurie Prize is given to recognize the outstanding achievements of a promising scientist aged 52 or below, and includes a $100,000 honorarium.

“We are proud to recognize Sabatini for his discovery of the mTOR pathway’s role in disease and aging,” said FNIH board member Ann Lurie, who donated the prize winnings. “The Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences was designed to empower young biomedical researchers so they can make further advancements that lead to life changing discoveries. Sabatini’s work has the potential to do just that, by revolutionizing how we treat age-related diseases.”

“I am truly honored to receive the 2017 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences and to be recognized for our discovery of mTOR and its roles in growth control and nutrient sensing. Inhibitors of mTOR are already used in the clinic for various reasons, including to treat cancer and block organ rejection, and my hope is that our work will lead to new generations of drugs with wider impacts, such as in treating age-related diseases,” said Sabatini. “I am very grateful to all my lab members whose dedication, creativity and perseverance has led to our discoveries and this award is a recognition of our accomplishments.”