Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize

General Information

The Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for the Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), created in 2002, recognizes a medical professional or researcher exhibiting excellence and leadership in PKD research. The US$50,000 cash prize is one of the most significant awards in the medical research field.

The Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize was established by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation through the generosity of Thomas Kaplan of New York in honor of his mother Lillian Jean Kaplan, who died of the disease in early 2002.

The long term goal of the Prize is to stimulate members of the scientific and medical community throughout the world to increase, or to begin, research that will lead to a treatment and cure for the millions of people, worldwide, who suffer from PKD. It also aims to generate momentum in the field as well as public awareness about the disease.

The Prize recognizes individual(s) whose seminal scientific work or sustained clinical contributions constitute tangible achievement toward improving knowledge and treatment of PKD.

The Prize is awarded every two years at ISN’s World Congress of Nephrology.

Learn more about the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation.
Learn more about polycystic kidney disease at the PKD Foundation website.


Previous Winners

In 2009 the full prize of US $50,000 was awarded to three nephrologists. For the first time all recipients of the prize are Pediatric Nephrologists:

  • Dr. Corinne Antignac, Inserm U574 and Department of Genetics, Necker Hospital, France
  • Prof. Lisa Guay-Woodford, Professor of Medicine, Director, Division of Genetic and Translational Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
  • Prof. Friedhelm Hildebrand, Professor of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, USA

In 2007 the full prize of US $50,000 was awarded twice in recognition of the exceptional research carried out by two eminent nephrologists:

  • Dr. Jing Zhou, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Harvard Centre of Polycystic Kidney Disease Research, MS, USA, received the prize for her important breakthroughs within the field such as the first pkd1 knockout mice revealing the roles of the PKD 1 protein, polycystin-1 in embryonic development, as well as the finding that polycystin-2 homologue, polycystin-L, was a calcium-permeable non-selective cation channel.
  • Dr. Vicente Torres, Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA, was selected for his seminal contribution at both the clinical and experimental levels of PKD research, describing the efficacy of vasopressin receptor antagonists in mouse models of PKD.

The 2005 prize was awarded to Dr. Greg Germino of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, USA and Dr. Stefan Somlo of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, USA. Thanks to the outstanding generosity of Thomas Kaplan, the full prize of US $50,000 was exceptionally awarded twice in 2005.

  • Dr. Germino was selected for his fundamentally original contributions to the study of PKD, particularly his work in determining the genomic sequence of PKDK1, its protein product — polycystin1, and the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of this gene in the development of the disease.
  • Dr. Somlo received the award for his leading role in unraveling the pathogenesis of polycystic kidney disease in particular the identification and characterization of the second gene for adult polycystic kidney disease (PKD2) and its protein, polycystin2.

In 2003 the full prize of US $50,000 was also awarded twice in recognition of the exceptional research carried out by two eminent nephrologists:

  • Dr. Jared J. Grantham, University Distinguished Professor of the University of Kansas Medical Center and Director of the Kidney Institute at the Center, Kansas City, KS, USA was selected for his major research contribution and particularly his outstanding leadership in polycystic kidney disease
  • Dr. Peter Harris, Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Medicine, Mayo Medical School and Consultant, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA was chosen for his original research in polycystic kidney disease and specifically for the identification and complete cloning of the PKD1 gene.


ISN and the PKD Foundation invite nominations from the renal community approximately 15 months prior to ISN’s World Congress of Nephrology (WCN).

The award of US $50,000 is made to an individual winner. A joint award for the same discovery or contribution may be given, usually to no more than two individuals.

The US $50,000 prize, a citation depicting the winner's work and a sculpture is presented at ISN’s biennial World Congress of Nephrology.

The deadline for nominations is September 1 of the year preceding the WCN.

Nominations procedure

Nominations are accepted without restriction to nationality, gender, religion or race.

A complete nomination must include the following information:

  1. The full name and complete contact information for the nominee(s).
  2. A formal letter of nomination that contains:
    • A statement whether the award should be made to an individual or whether it should/could be shared with other scientists who may or may not be included in the nomination.
    • A summary of the contributions of the nominee(s).
    • A description of how and why the work of the nominee(s) represents a major advance in our understanding and treatment of kidney disease through basic or clinical scientific research, and distinguishing those aspects of the work of the nominee(s) which clearly sets it apart from the work of others in the field.
  3. A full curriculum vitae and list of publications for the nominee(s).
  4. At least two letters of support for the nomination.
  5. The full name and complete contact information for the nominator(s).

Nominations should be sent to:

Dr. Nathan W. Levin
Chair, Selection Committee
Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Renal Research Institute
207 East 94th Street
New York, NY 10128

Tel: +1 212 360 4954
Fax: +1 212 996 5905
E-mail: [email protected]


The recipient(s) of the Prize are selected by the Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize Selection Committee, chaired by Dr. Nathan W. Levin and comprising two representatives appointed by the President of ISN and two representatives selected by the PKD Foundation.

The Committee submits the selected winner(s) to ISN and PKD Foundation Executive Committees for formal approval in January of the WCN year.

The winner(s) are formally announced by ISN and the PKD Foundation 2-3 months prior to the WCN.

The awardee(s) present a keynote lecture and receive their Prize during the WCN.

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