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August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research

Awarded by Indiana University School of Medicine

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The August M. Watanabe Prize

Indiana University School of Medicine is pleased to award the August M. Watanabe prize in translational research. The prize is one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious awards, recognizing individuals focused on shepherding scientific discoveries into new therapies for patients. The prize is awarded to a senior investigator who has made a significant contribution to the field of translational science. The winner will receive $100,000 and will spend September 14-16, 2022 in Indianapolis, as a visiting dignitary, sharing insights and knowledge with audiences at IU School of Medicine and its partner institutions.

Past Recipients


Nancy Brown Headshot

Nancy J. Brown, MD

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Brian Druker, MD

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Portrait of David Holtzman lab coat

David Holtzman, MD

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Jean Bennett, MD, PhD

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Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD

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Carl H. June, MD

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Tadataka Yamada, MD

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The Watanabe Legacy

The Watanabe prize is named in honor of the late August Watanabe, a titan in the field of translational research in both academia and industry who impacted the health of people around the world as a leader at Indiana University School of Medicine and Eli Lilly and Company.

Dr. Watanabe began his career at IU in 1972 and served as chair of the Department of Medicine from 1983 to 1990. From there, he joined Eli Lilly and Company, where he was ultimately named executive vice president, overseeing the launch of 11 drugs, and doubling the size of Lilly’s research and development staff.

The Watanabe Prize in Translational Research was established to honor Dr. Watanabe’s unparalleled dedication to scientific inquiry and his tireless advocacy of translational research.

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The design of the Watanabe crest is based on the ancient Japanese Wataribe clan, from which the name Watanabe is derived. The crest symbolizes a ferry, as the Wataribe clan ran ferry services throughout Japan. Fittingly, Dr. Watanabe helped “ferry” discoveries through the scientific pipeline, delivering them to patients in the form of the new treatments and, ultimately, hope for a healthier tomorrow.