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Recognizing Pioneering Researchers in Gastroenterology: 2022 Innovators in Science Award Winners Announced

More than 40% of adults worldwide are living with a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, impacting their quality of life. Patients need better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options, but to get there, we must support the advancement of our scientific understanding of GI conditions. The dedication of scientists working toward ground-breaking advances in early-stage research in GI is worth celebrating, because it is among the first steps to creating better health for people and a brighter future for the world.

Now in its fourth year, the Innovators in Science Award was created by Takeda to recognize and support the pursuit of science that advances human health. In 2022, the award celebrated outstanding scientific excellence in the field of gastroenterology, with each winner receiving an unrestricted prize of US$200,000.

The winners, profiled below, were honored at the Innovators in Science Award Ceremony on October 13, 2022, in Boston. Leaders in the national and Boston-area biotech, scientific, and GI communities joined the celebration, including ceremony emcee Laura Helmuth, editor-in-chief of Scientific American; keynote speaker Scott Friedman, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; philanthropy partners; and award judges and Scientific Advisory Committee members.  The next day, the winners’ research was featured at the 2022 Innovators in Science Symposium: Gastroenterology. The Symposium is available to stream on demand

Winners Elaine Y. Hsiao, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., are joined by Chinwe Ukomadu, M.D., Ph.D., Head GI Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda (far left) and Andy Plump, M.D., Ph.D., President Research & Development, Takeda (far right)

The Father of Microbiome Science: Dr. Jeffrey Gordon

The 2022 Senior Scientist Award winner Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is known as the ‘Father of Microbiome Science.’ Dr.  Gordon’s pioneering interdisciplinary research has revealed the profound effects of the human gut microbial community on physiology and metabolism.

“It is a reinforcement of the value of pursuing this area of research,” Dr. Gordon said about receiving the award. “The whole process is being recognized and will bring new understanding of how the gut influences so many aspects of our biology, and new ways of treating disease.”

Learn more about Dr. Gordon’s award-winning research

Taking Higher Risks for Higher Rewards: Dr. Elaine Y. Hsiao

The 2022 Early-Career Scientist Award winner Elaine Y. Hsiao, Ph.D., De Logi Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at UCLA, has made ground-breaking discoveries into how the gut microbiome influences the brain and behavior. Her research has upended conventional thinking about the cause and treatment of neurological diseases such as autism and epilepsy.

Affirming the need for basic-research support, Dr.  Hsiao said, “There is a lot that can be done with this funding for our research, especially with the flexibility to do higher risk and hopefully higher reward type work, which is what we love to do.”

“Winning the Takeda Innovators in Science Award is really a game changer for me, my lab, and the broader field of microbiome gut-brain interactions. It's also a big welcome to new people to really help advance this field.”

Watch Dr. Hsiao share more about her research and hope for the future


The Innovators in Science Award is administered by the New York Academy of Sciences and sponsored by Takeda. To learn more about the award, visit https://www.takedainnovators.com.