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Nobel Laureate Renato Dulbecco honored with Indiana University President's Medal

Renato Dulbecco

Tour guides Cynthia Burke, Conrado Gallardo, Kendall Mower, Lily Robinson, Ellen Zimmerman (not pictured- Don McKahan)


Indiana University (IU) has awarded Nobel Laureate and distinguished Salk Institute research professor Renato Dulbecco the President's Medal for Excellence, one of the highest honors an IU president can bestow. Criteria for recipients include distinction in public service, service to IU, achievement in a profession and extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, science, education and industry.

"Indiana University's world-class reputation in the life sciences can in part be directly traced back to path-breaking researchers like Dr. Dulbecco," says IU president Michael A. McRobbie. "His seminal work involving tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell dramatically increased our understanding of the cause of human cancer, and he has been an inspiration to scientists worldwide through his work on the origin of breast cancer and leadership of the Human Genome Project. IU shares great pride in his historic achievements, pioneering spirit and lifetime dedication to science."

A Founding Fellow of the Salk Institute and president emeritus, Dulbecco was one of four Nobel Laureates who worked together at IU in the life sciences during the late 1940s. He is credited with playing a pivotal role in the development of modern molecular biology and revealing the biochemical basis of our genetic codes. In 1986, he suggested studying all human genes, helping to launch the worldwide Human Genome Project.

Dulbecco's pioneering research provided the first clue to the genetic nature of cancer, and he was jointly awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. He is also the recipient of the Lasker Award and awards given by the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London and the Academia Del Lincei of Italy, among many others. To highlight his achievements, the Salk Institute established the Dulbecco Laboratories for Cancer Research in 2005 and created the Renato Dulbecco Chair in 2010.

"Renato Dulbecco is a brilliant investigator and scientific visionary," says Salk president William R. Brody. "His extraordinary contributions to science epitomize everything the President's Medal stands for, and we are delighted that Indiana University has recognized his remarkable achievements with this award."