The Gilbert S. Omenn Prize

The $5000 Gilbert S. Omenn Prize is awarded by the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health for best article published in the previous calendar year on a topic related to evolution in the context of medicine and public health. The Prize will be awarded at the 2021 ISEMPH Annual Meeting. 
Nominations for articles published in 2020 are open now until April 30, 2021. 

The International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health invites nominations for the Omenn Prize of $5000 for the best article published in the previous calendar year in any scientific journal on a topic related to evolution in the context of medicine and public health.  The prize, provided by the generosity of Gilbert S. Omenn, will be awarded to the first author of the winning article. The Committee may elect to recognize more than one article. Authors are encouraged to nominate their own articles, but nominations of articles by others are also welcome. This year's prize committee includes Caleb Finch (chair), Martin Brüne, Joe Graves, Jochim Kurtz, Chris Kuzawa, Anne Stone, and Carol Worthman. 

Directions for Nominations

Please submit your nomination using this brief form. The form requests a reference for the nominated article, along with a brief statement in support of your nomination. Peer-reviewed articles with a publication date of 2020 that use evolutionary principles to advance understanding of a disease or disease process are eligible.  The prize committee will give priority to articles with implications for human health, but many basic science or theoretical articles have such implications.

The prize is made possible by a generous donation by Gilbert Omenn, M.D., PhD. Director of the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan where he is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Public Health. Dr. Omenn served as Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs as Chief Executive Officer of the University of Michigan Health System from 1997-2002. He is a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gilbert S. Omenn Prize Winners

2021 Prize for the best article published in 2020--Nominations close April 30, 2021

2019 Prize   The Omenn Prize was suspended for 2019 because of the pandemic

2019 Prize

Cellular hysteresis as a principle to maximize the efficacy of antibiotic therapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(39), 9767–9772. doi:10.1073/pnas.1810004115  

By Roemhild, R., Gokhale, C. S., Dirksen, P., Blake, C., Rosenstiel, P., Traulsen, A., … Schulenburg, H. (2018). 

Committee for the 2019 Omenn prize: Isabel Gordo (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal, population genetics), Mel Greaves (Institute of Cancer Research, UK, cancer); Thom McDade (Northwestern University, USA, anthropology); Steve Simpson (University of Sydney, Australia, nutrition); Nina Wale (University of Michigan, USA, infectious disease, last year's winner).

2018 Prize

Resource limitation prevents the emergence of drug resistance by intensifying within-host competition

by Nina Wale, Sim DG, Jones MJ, Salathe R, Day T, Read AF

University of Michigan

2017 Prize 

More effective drugs lead to harder selective sweeps in the evolution of drug resistance in HIV-1“.

by Alison Feder and her colleagues.

Stanford University

2016 Prize

“Adaptive immunity increases the pace and predictability of evolutionary chance in commensal gut bacteria”

by Joao Barroso-Batista, Jocelyne Demengeot and Isabel Gordo from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal.

2015 Prize 

Winner: Barber, Matthew F., and Nels C. Elde. "Escape from bacterial iron piracy through rapid evolution of transferring

Science  346.6215 (2014): 1362-1366.

Honorable Mention:

Byars, Sean G., Stephen C. Stearns, and Jacobus J. Boomsma.Opposite risk patterns for autism and schizophrenia are associated with normal variation in birth size: Phenotypic support for hypothesized diametric gene-dosage effects.” Proc. R. Soc. B. Vol. 281. No. 1794. The Royal Society, 2014.

Pennings, Pleuni S., Sergey Kryazhimskiy, and John Wakeley.Loss and recovery of genetic diversity in adapting populations of HIV .” PLoS genetics 10.1 (2014): e1004000.

Warinner, Christina, et al. “Pathogens and host immunity in the ancient human oral cavity.” Nature genetics 46.4 (2014): 336-344.


Winner : Demogines, Ann, et al. “Dual host-virus arms races shape an essential housekeeping protein.” PLoS biology 11.5 (2013): e1001571.

Honorable Mention:

Alberts, Susan C., et al. “Reproductive aging patterns in primates reveal that humans are distinct.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110.33 (2013): 13440-13445.

Graves, Christopher J., et al. “Natural selection promotes antigenic evolvability.” PLoS pathogens 9.11 (2013): e1003766.

Morrow, Edward H., and Tim Connallon. “Implications of sex‐specific selection for the genetic basis of disease.” Evolutionary applications 6.8 (2013): 1208-1217.

Huijben, Silvie, et al. “Aggressive chemotherapy and the selection of drug resistant pathogens.” PLoS pathogens 9.9 (2013): e1003578.

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