Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science recognises women scientists with a stellar record of research accomplishments who also have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science.

Frances Ashcroft headshotProfessor Dame Frances Ashcroft has been named as the recipient of the 2023 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science by officials at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

At an award presentation towards the end of this year held at the VUMC, Professor Ashcroft will receive an honorarium and present the Vanderbilt Prize lecture. As part of her award, she will also mentor a Vanderbilt Prize Scholar, a woman pursuing graduate studies in the biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine. 

Professor Ashcroft said: "It is a very great honour to be awarded the Vanderbilt Prize, which recognizes the importance of empowering the next generation of women scientists. I look forward to meeting the Vanderbilt Prize Scholar."

Professor Ashcroft has trained numerous women scientists through her tenure at DPAG and Trinity College Oxford. She has also won numerous awards and accolades for her work on insulin secretion, Type 2 diabetes and neonatal diabetes. These include the Jacob Henle Medal (2019), the Dale Medal (2020), the Banting Medal (2022), and most recently the Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research (2023). 

One of Professor Ashcroft's landmark discoveries identified the missing link connecting an increase in blood sugar levels to the secretion of the hormone insulin – this link was the KATP channel. In collaboration with Professor Hattersley at the University of Exeter, she unravelled how genetic mutations in the KATP channel cause a rare inherited form of diabetes, in which patients develop diabetes soon after birth. This has enabled people with these mutations to switch from insulin injections to tablet therapy. 

As part of his nomination of Professor Ashcroft, Director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and the Joe C. Davis Chair of Biomedical Sciences Alvin C. Powers said: “It is a rare accomplishment for a basic scientist to so effectively translate observations made in the laboratory into the clinic. Through her collaborations, Professor Ashcroft has done precisely this, impacting the lives of hundreds of individuals and revolutionizing our approach to neonatal diabetes."

Read more on the VUMC website.

Similar stories

Annie Park to advance our understanding of how the brain encodes reward with new Wellcome Trust Award

Congratulations are in order for Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Annie Park who has been awarded a prestigious Wellcome Early-Career Award.

Physiological Society award to support prestigious CAJAL course for Raffaele Sarnataro

Congratulations are in order for Dr Raffaele Sarnataro who has been awarded a Professional Development Award by The Physiological Society. The award will support Dr Sarnataro’s selected participation on the Experimental Neuroscience Bootcamp 2023 delivered by the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme.

Armin Lak appointed Associate Professor of Integrative Neuroscience

The post is in association with a Tutorial Fellowship at St John's College.

Inaugural Fellowship to Charmaine Lang paves the way to improved human models for Parkinson's drug discovery

Congratulations are in order for Departmental Research Lecturer Dr Charmaine Lang who has been awarded the first jointly funded Senior Research Fellowship from Parkinson’s UK and Rosetrees Trust. With this award, Dr Lang will develop complex new induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models that target the interaction between dopamine neurons and astrocytes in the brain and how these fail in the context of Parkinson's.

Mootaz Salman set to target new treatments for stroke

The Chief Scientist Office of the Government of Scotland has awarded a collaborative grant of £298,966 to Dr Mootaz Salman to seek new therapeutic avenues to treat stroke.