The White House announced today that Dr. Mary-Claire King, professor of medicine (Medical Genetics) and genome sciences, will receive the National Medal of Science.

The National Medical of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation are the nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. 

Dr. King is a world leader in cancer genetics and is recognized for her work in transforming the application of human genetics to medicine through identification of the first gene, BRCA1, responsible for inherited susceptibility to breast cancer. She also demonstrated that the genomes of humans and chimpanzees are 99% identical, and pioneered the application of genetic sequencing in forensics to identify victims of human rights abuse.

She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Paul Ehrlich Prize, National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, and the prestigious Lasker award.

Dr. Mary-Claire King

“Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our Nation’s biggest challenges. The knowledge produced by these Americans today will carry our country’s legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity.”

-President Obama

Dr. King is the fifth UW faculty member to win this award; two previous winners also won Nobel Prizes. She will receive the award in January at a ceremony at the White House. 

Past UW winners:

  • E. Donnall Thomas, Medicine (1990)
  • Hans Dehmelt, Physics (1995)
  • Richard Carp, Computer Science and Engineering (1996)
  • Ernest Davidson, Chemistry (2000)

List of new recipients:

National Medal of Science

  • Dr. Armand Paul Alivisatos, University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, CA
  • Dr. Michael Artin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
  • Dr. Albert Bandura, Stanford University, CA
  • Dr. Stanley Falkow, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA
  • Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY
  • Dr. Rakesh K. Jain, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, MA
  • Dr. Mary-Claire King, University of Washington, WA
  • Dr. Simon Levin, Princeton University, NJ
  • Dr. Geraldine Richmond, University of Oregon, OR

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

  • Dr. Joseph DeSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Carbon3D, CA
  • Dr. Robert Fischell, University of Maryland at College Park, MD
  • Dr. Arthur Gossard, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Dr. Nancy Ho, Green Tech America, Inc. and Purdue University, IN
  • Dr. Chenming Hu, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • Dr. Mark Humayun, University of Southern California, CA
  • Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, University of Connecticut, CT
  • Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, 4catalyzer Corporation and Yale School of Medicine, CT