NEW YORK: Two scientists, who illuminated how brain cells communicate, three researchers who developed implants that let deaf people hear and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates have won prestigious Lasker Awards for medical research and contributions to public health. The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced the recipients of the $250,000 prizes on Monday. The awards will be presented on Sept 20 in New York City.

The Gateses won the public service award “for leading a historic transformation in the way we view the globe’s most pressing health concerns and improving the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable,” the Lasker foundation said. They have donated more than $26 billion to their philanthropic foundation and often team up with agencies that can provide diverse expertise, the Lasker foundation said. They supported an international partnership that has helped immunize hundreds of millions of children against killer diseases.

Their current priorities include polio, agriculture and family-planning information and services. The Lasker clinical medical research award will be shared by Graeme Clark, an emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia; Ingeborg Hochmair of the company MED-EL in Innsbruck, Austria; and Blake Wilson of Duke University for developing the modern cochlear implant.—AP

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