A man with white hair leans on a piece of lab equipment, arms crossed.

Gretchen Ertl

Rudolf Jaenisch receives the ISTT Prize for contributions to transgenic technologies

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) has awarded Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch the ISTT Prize, recognizing his exceptional contribution to the field of animal transgenesis over the past five decades.
In announcing the award, ISTT said that Jaenisch’s scientific achievements have “revolutionized the understanding of embryonic development, cloning, epigenic regulation, cancer and disease, [and] transformed the work of the transgenic community and the scope of our activities, for which we are indebted.”

Jaenisch, who is a U.S. National Medal of Science recipient and a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is renowned for his groundbreaking body of work in the development of transgenic animals and in the generation and multifaceted use of induced pluripotent stem cells. His many accomplishments range from his early career creation of the first transgenic mice — demonstrating that viral DNA sequences could be integrated into the mouse genome and passed on to their offspring — to development of tools to edit DNA methylation in mice for functional epigenetic studies and major discoveries on epigenetic regulation of gene expression in mammalian development and disease.

Most recently, Jaenisch’s lab has worked to develop new ways to model human diseases in animals; for example, creating mice with human cells in their nervous systems, in order to closely observe the formation of human pediatric neuroblastoma tumors. They have also collaborated in development and testing of potential interventions, such as preventing Lyme disease transmission by heritably immunizing local mouse populations against the bacteria that causes the disease.

Founded in 2006, the ISTT comprises more than 600 leading researchers around the globe who are dedicated to advancing science in the field of animal transgenesis. The ISTT Prize has been awarded to 16 pioneers in the field, including Nobel Prize recipient Mario Capecchi. Jaenisch will formally accept the award and deliver the ISTT Prize Lecture at the organization’s international Transgenic Technology Meeting to be held in Zurich, Switzerland in April 2025.



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Rudolf Jaenisch stands with his hands in his pockets.

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