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Nobel innovation

31 October 2008

Professor Sir Martin EvansProfessor Sir Martin Evans

Cardiff Nobel Laureate, Professor Sir Martin Evans, has been honoured for his ground-breaking work in identifying embryonic stem cells by the Economist Innovation Awards 2008.

Sir Martin, who was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine was chosen as the winner of the ‘Biosciences’ category by a panel of 33 distinguished judges.

The award recognises Sir Martin’s pioneering research into stem cells, "knockout" mice, and gene targeting. Described as ‘the father of stem cell research’, Sir Martin was the first scientist to isolate stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes. He later genetically modified them and demonstrated that the new genes could be passed on to the next generation.

The techniques he developed, known as gene targeting, are now in use worldwide in virtually all areas of biomedicine - from basic research to the development of new therapies, delivering new insights in the fight against diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and cystic fibrosis.

Sir Martin’s discovery has transformed our understanding of our bodies and the diseases that affect them. Commenting on the award, he said: "I’m delighted to receive such a prestigious award and to see my work and the work of scientists across the country being recognised by The Economist."

The Economist Innovation Awards are globally recognised as one of the world’s leading celebrations of innovation. The winners were announced at a ceremony, held at London’s Science Museum. The Awards celebrate the achievements and innovations of individuals who have positively transformed global business with their commitment to new ideas and creativity.

Other winners include Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, for their support for global health and development, including immunisation and literacy projects, and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.