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Infant health research

  • Goal: to prevent infant and childhood health problems.
  • We’re studying the effects of maternal health issues.
  • Research grants fund the development of new treatments.
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Prize in Developmental Biology

The March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology honors leaders in the field. Their pioneering research offers hope and opportunity to one day prevent and treat some of the most serious birth defects and other human diseases. 

Each year outstanding scientist(s) are awarded the coveted March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology for research that has profoundly advanced the science that underlies our understanding of birth defects. The Prize has been awarded annually since 1996. The March of Dimes created the Prize as a tribute to Dr. Jonas Salk shortly before his death in 1995.  Five recipients of the March of Dimes Prize to date have gone on to win the Nobel Prize® in Physiology or Medicine.

The Prize carries a cash award of $250,000 and a silver medal in the design of a Roosevelt dime.  This is in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who founded the March of Dimes. The awardee delivers his/her lecture before the Pediatric Academic Society (PAS) meeting held yearly in the spring. The actual award is given at a black-tie event traditionally hosted by TV celebrity Greg Gumbel. Anne Eleanor Roosevelt, great-granddaughter of President Roosevelt, traditionally awards the silver medal.

In 2015, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology was awarded to Rudolf Jaenich, M.D., for devising innovative technologies that elucidated long-standing dilemmas in developmental biology, for recognizing the transformative significance on cellular function of epigenetic programming, and for applying the power of induced pluripotent stem cells to novel discoveries.

Nominations are solicited for the 21st annual March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, to be awarded in 2016.  This $250,000 Prize is given to scientists whose research has profoundly advanced the science that underlies our understanding of birth defects. A list of previous awardees is available.

Nomination procedure:
Nominators should submit the below information via email attachment to the Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs at on or before October 30, 2015.
The nomination format must include the following information in this order:


A.    Name

B.     Professional Title and Affiliation

C.     Address

D.    Telephone number

E.      E-mail Address

F.      Signature




A.    Name

B.     Professional Title and Affiliation

C.     Address

D.    Telephone number

E.      E-mail Address

F.      Curriculum Vitae

G.    A narrative biographic sketch (250 words)

H.    Statement of the basis for the nomination (150 words)

I.       Summary of scientific contributions on which nomination is based

   See also: A list of previous awardees(PDF, 34KB), Nomination procedure(PDF, 223 KB) 

Research breakthroughs

From the PKU test to surfactant and nitric oxide therapies, March of Dimes funded research is saving the lives of thousands of babies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does maternal diabetes increase the risk of birth defects?

Women with poorly controlled diabetes that started before pregnancy (pregestational diabetes) are about 3 times more likely than women without diabetes to have a baby with a serious birth defect, such as heart, limb or neural tube defects. They can greatly reduce the risk of birth defects and other pregnancy complications by making sure their blood sugar levels are well controlled starting before pregnancy.

How many disorders should newborns be screened for?

The March of Dimes calls upon all states to adopt the new national standard of screening for at least 31 treatable conditions that are not obvious at birth. Early diagnosis and proper treatment of these disorders can make the difference between healthy development and lifelong disabilities. Each year an estimated 6,000 newborns are diagnosed with a treatable metabolic condition and another 12,000 with a hearing impairment.

What is cytomegalovirus (CMV)?

CMV is a common viral infection that usually causes no or mild symptoms. Pregnant women who contract CMV can pass it on to their babies during pregnancy. CMV infection occurs in about 1 in 100 newborns, sometimes causing intellectual disabilities, hearing loss or even death. You can help reduce your risk of CMV by practicing careful hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly after changing diapers or wiping a child’s nose.

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