Ralph Brinster of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded the National Medal of Science, which is the highest honor given by the United States government on scientists and engineers, according to an announcement made from the White House today.
Brinster has been awarded for his research on the manipulation of the mammalian germline, which are cells that give rise to sperm and eggs.
In a process called transgenesis, inserting new genes into the germline of a developing organism allows researchers to produce animals with selected traits that serve as essential models in understanding life processes and disease.
Brinster is the seventh Penn faculty member to receive the award. He is, however, the first veterinarian to win the National Medal of Science.
“He has been a pioneer in using fundamental research to address profound and far-reaching biological questions. His innovations have defined entire fields of inquiry, spurred critical new technologies and transformed the study of human biology and disease,” University of Pennsylvania Provost Vincent Price said