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August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research

Awarded by Indiana University School of Medicine

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The August M. Watanabe Prize

Indiana University School of Medicine is pleased to award the August M. Watanabe prize in translational research. The prize is one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious awards, recognizing individuals focused on shepherding scientific discoveries into new therapies for patients. The prize is awarded to a senior investigator who has made a significant contribution to the field of translational science. The winner will receive $100,000 and will spend September 14-16, 2022 in Indianapolis, as a visiting dignitary, sharing insights and knowledge with audiences at IU School of Medicine and its partner institutions.
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Nomination Process

Nominees for the Watanabe Prize in Translational Research should be members of the scientific or medical community who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in translational research. The Watanabe Prize is granted to a senior investigator whose influential research deserves major recognition.

Please submit:

  1. A copy of the nominee’s current curriculum vitae (CV), and

  2. A letter of nomination, including a detailed description of the nominee’s major translational research accomplishments and the impact of these contributions to the fields of science and/or medicine. Letters should be submitted on official letterhead and signed by the nominator.

Note: This year’s prize nominee must be available to travel to Indianapolis from September 14-16, 2022.

Complete nomination materials should be emailed to with the nominee’s name in the subject line.


Any questions about the nomination process for the August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research may be directed to


The deadline for all nomination materials for the 2022 August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research is January 21, 2022.

Submit your nomination

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The Watanabe Legacy

The Watanabe prize is named in honor of the late August Watanabe, a titan in the field of translational research in both academia and industry who impacted the health of people around the world as a leader at Indiana University School of Medicine and Eli Lilly and Company.

Dr. Watanabe began his career at IU in 1972 and served as chair of the Department of Medicine from 1983 to 1990. From there, he joined Eli Lilly and Company, where he was ultimately named executive vice president, overseeing the launch of 11 drugs, and doubling the size of Lilly’s research and development staff.

The Watanabe Prize in Translational Research was established to honor Dr. Watanabe’s unparalleled dedication to scientific inquiry and his tireless advocacy of translational research.

Past Recipients


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Brian Druker, MD

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David Holtzman, MD

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Jean Bennett, MD, PhD

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Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD

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Carl H. June, MD

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Tadataka Yamada, MD

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The design of the Watanabe crest is based on the ancient Japanese Wataribe clan, from which the name Watanabe is derived. The crest symbolizes a ferry, as the Wataribe clan ran ferry services throughout Japan. Fittingly, Dr. Watanabe helped “ferry” discoveries through the scientific pipeline, delivering them to patients in the form of the new treatments and, ultimately, hope for a healthier tomorrow.