For his pioneering research into critical aspects of female reproductive health, Allan C. Spradling, Ph.D., of the Carnegie Institution for Science has received the 2018 March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnston, Jr. MD Prize in Developmental Biology.
Dr. Spradling, who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 1988, is one of the world’s leading embryologists. He is best known for his pioneering work in characterizing the first stem cell “niche” – the special microenvironments within tissues that maintain and control stem cells. He and his team have also identified conserved genes, cells and mechanisms that act at multiple steps during female reproduction and are involved in both health and disease.
“Dr. Spradling’s groundbreaking work is not only crucial for understanding the basic science of early egg cell and embryo development, it also has exciting implications for the future,” says Stacey D. Stewart, president of March of Dimes. “We can foresee a day when this research makes it possible for more women who want to have a baby to become moms, and to go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy families.”
A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dr. Spradling studied mathematics and physics at the University of Chicago. He then studied biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his PhD. He did postdoctoral work at Indiana University before joining the faculty at Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology, located on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as Director of the Department of Embryology for more than 20 years, beginning in 1994. Dr. Spradling is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He has been the President of the Genetics Society of America and of the Society of Developmental Biology. He has received multiple awards, including an honorary PhD from the University of Chicago.
He will deliver the 23rd annual March of Dimes Prize Lecture, “Using the Power of Evolution to Understand and Improve Female Reproductive Health” today at the Toronto Convention Center during the 2018 Pediatric Academy Societies annual meeting. He will receive the Prize at a ceremony this evening emceed
by CBS sportscaster Greg Gumbel, a former member of the March of Dimes national Honorary Board of Trustees.
The March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnston, Jr., MD Prize in Developmental Biology is awarded annually to an outstanding scientist who has profoundly advanced the science that underlies our understanding of prenatal development and pregnancy. Shortly before Dr. Jonas Salk’s death in 1995, the March of Dimes created this Prize as a tribute to him. Since 1996, the Prize has been awarded 22 times, nine times to a single individual and 13 times to a dyad working in the same area. A large number of recipients have subsequently garnered or previously earned other major prizes, including the Nobel Prize.