A Standing Ovation for the 2016 Vilcek Prizewinners

The Vilcek Prizes, presented annually to immigrants who have made outstanding contributions to their fields, are this year awarded in biomedical science and theatre. Onstage and off, immigrants make many important contributions to American society, and we applaud the eight foreign-born prizewinners whose groundbreaking work has shaped the way we think about ourselves and the world—from discovering crucial aspects of the mechanisms behind HIV pathogenesis to using theatre as a space to tell marginalized stories.

Check here each week for feature stories and videos about the prizewinners and their careers.  For now, though, we are pleased to introduce the winners of the 2016 Vilcek Prizes!

 

VILCEK PRIZE IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE

Dan R. Littman

Professor of Molecular Immunology, NYU School of Medicine

Born in Romania 

For a wealth of insights on HIV pathogenesis, the specificity of the human immune response, and the interplay of the immune system with the human microbiome.

 

VILCEK PRIZE IN THEATRE

Blanka Zizka

Artistic Director, The Wilma Theater

Born in the former Czechoslovakia

For leadership that established Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater as an institution of national significance, and for a singular artistic vision and acclaimed direction of contemporary theatre.

 

VILCEK PRIZE FOR CREATIVE PROMISE IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE

Fernando Camargo

Associate Professor of Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Born in Peru 

For unraveling the mechanism of blood cell production and uncovering crucial cellular signaling processes implicated in cancer treatment and regenerative medicine. 

 

Roberta Capp

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Born in Brazil

For exposing systemic barriers to health care access in the United States, and for exploring innovative, equitable models for delivering medical care. 

 

Houra Merrikh

Assistant Professor of Microbiology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Born in Iran

For demonstrating how conflicts between life-sustaining cellular machines involved in genome duplication and gene expression can accelerate evolution.

 

VILCEK PRIZE FOR CREATIVE PROMISE IN THEATRE

Sarah Benson

Artistic Director, Soho Repertory Theatre

Born in the United Kingdom

For directing and producing new works in immersive stagings that have made New York’s Soho Rep into a leading destination for contemporary drama.

 

Desdemona Chiang

Stage Director and Co-Founder, Azeotrope

Born in Taiwan 

For daring interpretations of new plays and classics, and for the establishment of Azeotrope, a theatre company with a focus on marginalized populations. 

 

Yi Zhao

Lighting Designer

Born in China 

For innovative lighting designs that transform space and time in productions at national theatres and experimental venues alike.

  • A Message from Jan and Marica Vilcek

    Our founders arrived as penniless refugees over fifty years ago, but with the kindness and opportunity they received in the United States, they went on to accomplish great things in biomedical science and art history. Read their statement on the recent executive order imposing a travel ban.

     

    READ THEIR MESSAGE >