Selection Process

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research is presented annually. Each year, nominations for award recipients are accepted from the global research community.

The awardee(s) will be selected by a Selection Committee of six to eight distinguished and independent scientists. The deliberations of the Selection Committee will be confidential and independent of Johnson & Johnson or other outside influences.

The award is a citation and a prize of $200,000.


The Selection Committee will choose a scientist (or a group of scientists), in basic or clinical research, who:

  • Has made a significant contribution to research that has impacted, or has strong potential to impact, human health through the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease.
  • Exhibits the standards of innovation, insight, and leadership that Dr. Paul exemplified during his career.
  • Provides a living example that the study of science and technology can enable or has the potential to enable extended, healthy, productive life.
  • Displays a set of ethical values consistent with the Johnson & Johnson Credo and those values that guide the company.

The award can be given to a clinical or basic research scientist or group of scientists in academia, government, industry, private research institution, medical, or clinical practice. It will typically recognize an individual scientist but can be shared in circumstances in which the contributions of multiple nominees are viewed as being of similar importance. Self-nominations will not be considered.

Selection Committee

Richard P. Lifton, M.D., Ph.D., Committee Chair

Richard P. Lifton is President of Rockefeller University. Lifton received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his MD and PhD degrees in Biochemistry from Stanford University. Following clinical training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he continued on the faculty at Harvard Medical School before being recruited to Yale in 1993. Dr. Lifton was a Sterling Professor of Genetics and Internal Medicine and was Chair of the Department of Genetics from 1998-201 while at Yale University. He founded and was the Executive Director of the Yale Center for Genome Analysis and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale School of Medicine. In his research, Lifton has pioneered the use of genetics and genomics to understand fundamental mechanisms underlying human diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neoplasia, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. His work on hypertension has provided the scientific foundation for modulating salt balance to both prevent and treat high blood pressure, informing public health efforts and therapeutic strategies now used worldwide. Lifton has received the highest scientific awards of the American Heart Association, the American Society of Nephrology, the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the American Society of Hypertension, the International Society of Hypertension, and the International Society of Nephrology. He received the 2008 Wiley Prize for Biomedical Sciences and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Currently, he is a member of the advisory committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health and also serves on several scientific advisory bodies such as the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard and the Whitehead Institute. Lifton is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on the governing councils of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. James Allison, Ph.D.

Dr. James Allison is the Regental Chair and Professor of the Department of Immunology, the Olga Keith Wiess Distinguished University Chair of Cancer Research, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. He earned the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation." Among his most notable discoveries are the determination of the T cell receptor structure and that CD28 is the major costimulatory molecule that allows full activation of naïve T cells and prevents anergy in T cell clones. His lab resolved a major controversy by demonstrating that CTLA-4 inhibits T-cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated costimulation and that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models. This finding paved the wave for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for cancer. Work in his lab led to the development of ipilimumab, an antibody to human CTLA-4 and the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA. Among many honors, he is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research award in 2015. His current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used by our clinicians and identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.

Michal Hall, Ph.D.

Michael N. Hall was born in Puerto Rico (United States) and spent his childhood years in South America (Venezuela and Peru) before moving to the United States to pursue his studies. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1981, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pasteur Institute (Paris, France) and the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the Biozentrum of the University of Basel (Switzerland) in 1987 where he is currently Professor and former Chair of Biochemistry. Dr. Hall is a pioneer in the fields of TOR signaling and cell growth control. In 1991, Dr. Hall and colleagues discovered TOR (Target of Rapamycin) and subsequently elucidated its role as a central controller of cell growth and metabolism. Dr. Hall is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2014) and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (2017).

Arthur Horwich, M.D.

Dr. Arthur Horwich, a geneticist, received undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Brown University, trained in Pediatrics at Yale, was then a postdoctoral fellow first at Salk Institute in the Tumor Virology Laboratory, and then in Genetics at Yale, then joined the Yale faculty. His work was initially involved with protein import into mitochondria and resulted in discovery of a "folding machine" inside mitochondria, Hsp60. He has used genetic, biochemical, and biophysical tools to study the mechanism of action of these ring shaped so-called chaperonin machines that provide essential assistance to protein folding in many cellular compartments. More recently he has focused on neurodegenerative disease as caused by protein misfolding, seeking to understand how misfolded SOD1 enzyme in the cytosol of motor neurons leads to one form of ALS.
In 2019, Dr. Horwich jointly with Franz-Ulrich Hartl, M.D. was the recipient of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research for their revolutionary insights into chaperone-mediated protein folding.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is the 8th designated University Professor in the history of the University of Connecticut. He is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UCONN. Dr. Laurencin earned a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a Hugh Hampton Young Fellow, and an M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School, where he received the Robinson Award for Surgery. Internationally renowned for his scientific work in biomaterials, stem cell science, nanotechnology, and drug delivery systems, Dr. Laurencin also has pioneered a new field, regenerative engineering. His seminal studies have included the development of nanofiber technology for tissue regeneration, the creation of composites of polymers and ceramics for bone regeneration and the use of polymer fiber matrices for the regeneration of soft tissue of the knee. Dr. Laurencin has been honored by the White House on three occasions. He received the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Bill Clinton, the Presidential Award for Excellence in, Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, in ceremonies at the White House. Dr. Laurencin received the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded "for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States”. Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. Internationally, he is an elected fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian National Academy of Sciences, the African Academy of Sciences and The World Academy of Sciences, and is an Academician and Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Philippa “Pippa” Marrack, Ph.D.

Philippa “Pippa” Marrack, PhD, is the Chair of the Biomedical Research Department at National Jewish Health and a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado, Denver. Dr. Marrack is a world-renowned researcher whose groundbreaking work on T-cells has impacted the health of millions of people around the world. Marrack and her husband fellow researcher, John Kappler, were among the first in the world to isolate the T-cell receptor, a crucial component of the immune response that identifies foreign invaders inside the body and destroys them. Her findings shape medicine’s current understanding of the human immune system, vaccines, HIV, and other immune disorders. Marrack’s seminal research in these areas has led to over 375 publications and numerous awards including the Wolf Prize; the Dickson Prize in Medicine, University of Pittsburgh; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists; the L'ORÉAL - UNESCO Women In Science Award; Rockefeller University’s Pearl Meister Greengard Prize Recognizing Outstanding Women Scientists ; and the National Jewish Health Abraham J. Kauvar Presidential Award. Dr. Marrack has served as President of the American Association of Immunologists, has been inducted to the Colorado and National Women's Hall of Fame, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, United Kingdom, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. She completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and her Ph.D. in biological sciences at Cambridge University, England.

Dame Carol Robinson, DBE, FRS, FMEDSCI

Dame Carol Robinson, DBE, FRS, FMedSci holds the Chair of Doctor Lee’s Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and is a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Professor Robinson received her PhD from Churchill College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, in 1982. She is renowned for pioneering the use of mass spectrometry as an analytical tool and for her ground-breaking research into the 3D structure of proteins. Highlights from her work include the discovery that membrane protein complexes can be liberated from micelles in the gas phase while retaining their subunits interactions, lipid binding properties and overall topology providing a new view of membrane proteins and better insight to the role they play in many human diseases and conditions. Professor Robinson is the first female Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and was previously the first female Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge where she was elected a Professorial Fellow at Churchill College. She holds several Honorary titles including Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Society Research Professor, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire which she received in 2013 for her services to science. Professor Robinson’s work has received much recognition over the years including the Rosalind Franklin Award, the Prelog Medal, FEBS/EMBO Woman of the Year Award, the Astra Zeneca Award from the Biochemical Society and the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Kent, University of York, University of Bristol and the University of Liverpool.

Fiona Watt, FRS FMedSci

Fiona M. Watt, FRS FMedSci, is Director of the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London and is currently on secondment as Executive Chair of the UK Medical Research Council. Dr. Watt obtained her DPhil from the University of Oxford, and carried out postdoctoral research at M.I.T, Cambridge. She established her first lab at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London later moving to London Research Institute. From 2006 to 2012 she was Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge. Dr. Watt’s major research interest is in the role of stem cells in adult tissue maintenance. Many of her studies use mammalian epidermis as a model system, both in the context of genetically modified mice and epidermal reconstitution in culture. Her achievements have been recognized by election to EMBO, the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003. Fiona became the first woman president of the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in 2008. She is recognized throughout King’s and the wider community as an advocate of women in science. In 2016 Fiona was named winner of the FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award.

Nomination Form – Click here

Nominations will open on April 15, 2024 and close on June 7, 2024.
Please note: you must input the nominee’s CV and any optional recommendation letters to a zip file and email to