Richard B. Johnston, Jr., MD Prize in Developmental Biology

Recognizing an outstanding scientist who has profoundly advanced the science around prenatal development, pregnancy and birth
Richard B. Johnston Jr., MD Prize

Celebrating physician-scientists who have dedicated their lives to translational research

Along with the Agnes Higgins Award, the March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnston, Jr., MD Prize in Developmental Biology is one of two March of Dimes awards to lifetime scholars in the field of maternal fetal health, offering one annual recipient a $150,000 cash award not tied to any research aims.

Physician-scientists have re-written the standard of care for American mothers and babies. Among the research conducted by past recipients is work that has shed light on the causes of muscular dystrophy, helped us understand the normal and abnormal function of X and Y chromosomes, spotlighted the human placenta and brought fetal surgery to the mainstream. Awardees, five of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize® in Physiology or Medicine, also receive a plaque embedded with the design of a Roosevelt dime to commemorate March of Dimes founder President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The prize was recently renamed the Richard B. Johnston Jr. MD Prize in Developmental Biology in recognition of Dr. Johnston, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado and a former Medical Director of March of Dimes. Presented annually since 1996, the prize was created in honor of the late Jonas Salk, a New York native who created the world’s first polio vaccine in the 1950s with funding from the March of Dimes. 

Award Amount: $150,000 cash prize, a crystal award commemorating the honor, and a President’s Talk at the Society for Reproductive Investigation annual meeting

Areas of Research: Developmental Biology 
 

Open to:  late career, outstanding scientists who have profoundly advanced the science around prenatal development, pregnancy and birth

Note: current cycle is now open


September 1, 2022 - Nomination window opens
October 7, 2022 - Nomination window closes
Start of November 2022 - Selection Committee meets
Mid - November 2022 - Awardee is notified

 
How to nominate: 
Nominations may come from any scientists in the field who can provide a compelling nomination package for scientific leaders who have pioneered research to advance our understanding of prenatal development and pregnancy No self-nominations are accepted.

 

Nominations are welcome for late career, outstanding scientists who have profoundly advanced the science around prenatal development, pregnancy and birth.

Nominations may come from any scientists in the field who can provide a compelling nomination package for scientific leaders who have pioneered research to advance our understanding of prenatal development and pregnancy No self-nominations are accepted.


Nominators should submit the below information via email attachment to [email protected] by October 7, 2022.


The nomination format must include the following information in this order:

  1. NOMINATOR’S INFORMATION
    • Name
    • Professional Title and Affiliation
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • E-mail Address
    • Signature
  2. CANDIDATE’S INFORMATION
    • Name
    • Professional Title and Affiliation
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • E-mail Address
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • A narrative biographic sketch (250 words)
    • Statement of the nomination describing the impact of work in our understanding of prenatal development and pregnancy (150 words)
    • Summary of scientific contributions on which nomination is based

March of Dimes works with a variety of researchers from around the world. It is our hope that our awardees view their time as scholars, grantees, or center partners as mutually beneficial, and with value beyond the monetary consideration. 


We expect our awardees to attend key meetings that pertain to their award program, or assign an appropriate delegate if not possible. We expect members of our research centers to collaborate scientifically and collegially with other centers or non-profit organizations that are identified during the course of the award period. We expect that our awardees will attend scientific meetings that may be established by MOD and use good faith efforts to help MOD raise funds for future awards through attendance at some events, interviews, or other public-facing opportunities. 


We expect our awardees to make an impact on the thematic areas outlined in our strategic plan as the relate to their awards. To that end, we expect awardees to notify us of publications, posters, and presentations so that we may help to amplify their good work to the public. 


All these things we do so that our awardees can be successful now and in the future… 
 

Questions: 
Please direct any questions to [email protected]

2021 Prize in Developmental Biology Winner

For more than three decades, Dr. Flake has advanced fetal surgical techniques and therapies to help babies with life-threatening or devastating fetal conditions and those experiencing preterm birth.

Making an Impact with Research


March of Dimes research is focused on making an impact NOW to end preventable preterm birth; we do this by approaching research in several key ways. At both the bench and bedside– through descriptive research that aims to characterize and understand the factors that lead to preterm birth and other adverse outcomes; and through work that leads to mitigation and prevention of preterm birth- through therapeutics, diagnostics, and/or policy changes. 


We know that pregnancy is complex. March of Dimes research approach takes a whole-system view and brings the best talent and minds to bear, so we can make a difference in our lifetime. 


Recent examples

  • How are we making a difference: March of Dimes research programs have made discoveries that lead to direct impact on the health of moms, babies, and their families.
  • PRC microbiome studies leading to bedside testing; rapid, low cost predictive testing.
  • Early detection of preeclampsia and other adverse pregnancy outcomes through several approaches, including cell-free RNA, data analytics, and other diagnostic markers.
  • Understanding maternal-infant nutrition, to wit, NEC and how breastfeeding can improve outcomes  
     

Your Support Helps us Fund Research

There are a number of ways to support research at March of Dimes. Your time – through volunteering at events, raising awareness in your community, and recruiting new and impactful researcher to our network; your attention – by focused attention on how research can impact your community, your country, and the global family; and your resources – by way of funding, access to your network, and getting involved in research directly.

We need your help to continue developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and understanding of the complex factors that lead to preterm birth, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and overall adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Moms, Babies, and their Families can’t wait for you to step up and get involved.