2020 Award Winner

Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi

The Society for Glycobiology President’s Innovator Award acknowledges the contributions of one scientist each year that has made a significant impact on society. The 2020 President’s Innovator Award will be presented to Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Baker Family Director of the Stanford ChEM-H Institute (Chemistry, Engineering, and Medicine for Human Health).

Dr. Bertozzi received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1988 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1993. After postdoctoral work with Steven Rosen at UCSF in the field of cellular immunology, where she contributed essential effort to the characterization of selectin ligands, she joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1996. In 2015 she moved to Stanford University coincident with the launch of the new ChEM-H Institute focusing on translational molecular science. Prof. Bertozzi is known for developing innovative technologies that have opened new avenues for biological discovery and therapeutic development. Several of her inventions have been translated to commercial settings, including a technology for site-specific protein modification that is now used in antibody-drug conjugates that are in human clinical trials, antibody-enzyme conjugates that are in preclinical development for cancer immune therapy, and a platform for tuberculosis detection in patient sputum samples at the point of care. A recent innovation is the design of lysosome targeting chimeras (LYTACs) for targeted degradation of extracellular proteins.

Dr. Bertozzi is the recipient of a distinguished list of awards that illustrate the international recognition of the impact of her work.  She holds three Honorary Doctorate Degrees, from Brown Univ., Duke Univ., and Freie Univ. Berlin and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 at the age of 39, one of the youngest chemists in the history of the institution. She has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the National Academy of Medicine (former Institute of Medicine), National Academy of Inventors and is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. Her awards include the Arthur C. Cope Award of the American Chemical Society, the Heinrich Wieland Prize, the Ernst Schering Prize, a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award, the MIT-Lemelson Award, and the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize.  Prof. Bertozzi has cofounded six biotechnology companies, advises several as a consultant or SAB member, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly & Company.

The accomplishments recognized by these awards and honors speak to the high value of Dr. Bertozzi’s scientific contributions to glycoscience and to biomedical research more broadly.  The President’s Innovator Award is fittingly bestowed on Dr. Bertozzi this year for these accomplishments and, equally importantly, for her contribution to the health, growth, and future of glycobiology.  Through this award, the President choses to especially emphasize Dr. Bertozzi’s impressive and continuing record of training and mentoring an impactful generation of investigators whose work is reaching into almost all aspects of glycobiology as they establish their independent careers.  Additionally, the President wishes to honor Dr. Bertozzi’s commitment to effective and inclusive science communication, which has undoubtedly engaged and recruited many young scientists into our field.  Thus, in addition to her seminal contributions to basic science, Dr. Bertozzi has impacted society significantly through her training, mentoring, and communication skills, providing a model for effective leadership and innovation in glycobiology