Ralph L. Brinster Symposium & Elaine Redding Brinster Prize

About the Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine

The Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine is presented annually to an individual from any country to recognize their outstanding discovery for its major impact on biomedicine. The Prize is administered by the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (IRM), Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and is made possible through the generous support of the children of Ralph Brinster and Elaine Redding Brinster.

Each winner will receive $100,000, a commemorative medal, and an invitation to present a ceremonial lecture to the University of Pennsylvania campus community.

2022 Winner

The IRM is pleased to announce that C. David Allis, Ph.D. of the Rockefeller University has been selected as the first ever winner of the Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine!

In 1996, while a professor at the University of Rochester, Allis and his team isolated a protein within a single-celled organism that directly reacted with histones, the protein component of chromosomes that packages DNA in the “brain” of the cell, the nucleus. Allis and others then later demonstrated that the enzyme-related activity of this protein – which was a protein similar to the known yeast gene regulator GCN5 – is necessary for gene activation. Together, these studies demonstrated that the biochemical modification of histone proteins regulates gene activity, creating a foundation for the field of epigenetics. Today, epigenetic research has proven extraordinarily consequential for our understanding of human biology and insights from the field are being applied therapeutically to treat cancer and other illnesses.

On March 16, 2022, Dr. Allis received the inaugural Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in a special ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania’s Smilow Center for Translational Research. After presenting his Prize lecture, “When genetics and epigenetics collide: insights gained into human disease,”  Dr. Allis answered questions about the scientific path from IRM Director Ken Zaret and several virtual attendees from Horace Furness High School in Philadelphia.

Photos from the inaugural Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine ceremony and lecture held on March 16, 2022. Credit: Dan Burke


About the Ralph L. Brinster Symposium

Held in conjunction with the Prize, the annual Ralph L. Brinster Symposium is a celebration of extraordinary science. Each year, leaders in biomedicine from around the globe are invited to present their research to the University of Pennsylvania community. Rather than focus on one topic area or discipline, the Symposium hosts speakers whose work has helped shape biomedical science broadly, just as Dr. Brinster’s research into transgenic animals revolutionized the field.

The Symposium is cosponsored by the Deans of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine

2022 Symposium

In our inaugural year, the IRM was delighted to host these esteemed scientists for the Ralph L. Brinster Symposium:

  • Blanche Capel, PhD, James B. Duke Professor, Duke University
  • William Kaelin Jr., MD, Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Mina Bissell, PhD, Distinguished Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Elizabeth Robertson, PhD, Professor of Developmental Biology, Oxford University
  • C. David Allis, PhD, Joy and Jack Fishman Professor, The Rockefeller University & winner of the Elaine Redding Brinster Prize

Click here to view a copy of the 2022 Symposium program.