The American Society of Human Genetics Honors Dr. Jurg Ott as 2010 William Allan Award Winner


Monday, September 20, 2010
Press Contact: ASHG Press Office

Professor Emeritus of Rockefeller University’s Statistical Genetics Lab Honored as 2010 Allan Award Winner at ASHG 60th Annual Meeting in D.C.

BETHESDA, MD – September 20, 2010 – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Jurg Ott, PhD, Professor Emeritus of the Laboratory of Statistical Genetics at Rockefeller University, as the 2010 recipient of the Society’s prestigious William Allan Award. The 2010 Allan Award will be presented to Dr. Ott in a formal ceremony at the ASHG 60th Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 4, 2010, from 2:45-3:15 p.m., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. (Exhibit Hall C, Lower Concourse Level). Dr. Ott will deliver his Allan Award address immediately following the award presentation ceremony.

One of ASHG’s longest-standing and most distinguished awards, the William Allan Award is given annually to an individual in recognition of substantial and far-reaching scientific contributions to human genetics carried out over a lifetime of scientific inquiry and productivity. The Allan Award was established in 1961 in memory of William Allan, who was one of the first American physicians to conduct extensive research on human genetics and hereditary diseases. The Society recognizes the significant achievements of the William Allan Award winner by honoring the recipient with a $10,000 prize and an engraved medal.

Dr. Ott was named as the 2010 winner in recognition of his work as a pioneer in developing the statistical basis and advancing research on linkage analysis and complex disease in humans. We have entered what is turning out to be a highly successful era of mapping DNA variants that cause complex disease by using genome-wide association scans (GWAS) and related techniques. These scientific advances would not have been possible without Dr. Ott’s groundbreaking research on the development of statistical approaches for detecting linkage and association of loci responsible for complex disease, which has laid the foundation for the success of the current GWAS era.

Among his many scientific accomplishments, Ott has analyzed gene linkages for various genetic disorders, including hypertension, multiple sclerosis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. He also played a key role in developing the background theory for the genetic analysis of complex diseases and the related theory of tests of association. Given the enormous amount of current activity in mapping gene variants associated with complex diseases, Jurg Ott’s work has been seminal in advancing human genetics research.

“I feel incredibly grateful to be named as the recipient of this year’s Allan Award,” Ott said. “Receiving this prestigious acknowledgement from my colleagues in the human genetics field is a tremendous honor for me and those in my laboratory, and I look forward to accepting the 2010 Allan Award at the ASHG 60th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in November.”

In addition, this award also recognizes Jurg Ott as an exemplary teacher and mentor to the many hundreds of students that he has trained over the years. The courses that Ott has developed – his “gene mapping course,” in particular – and his commitment to teaching and mentoring have cultivated a broad engagement of the genetics community in linkage analysis. Overall, Jurg Ott’s lifetime of scientific discoveries, theory development, and his numerous contributions to the field of human genetics have been far-reaching and varied, and have made a significant impact on advancing knowledge of both basic and clinical human genetics.

“Dr. Ott is one of the most focused and amiable members of our genetics community,” said ASHG Executive Vice President Dr. Joann Boughman, PhD. “While developing some of the most complex mathematical methods to analyze volumes of genetic data, Jurg Ott has dedicated himself to making the methods accessible to all researchers and clinicians. His gentle style of interacting and teaching keeps students and colleagues from being overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the complex subject matter he has developed.”

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for nearly 8,000 human genetics specialists worldwide. The ASHG Annual Meeting is the world’s largest gathering of human genetics professionals and a forum for renowned experts in the field. This year, ASHG will host the 60th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2-6, 2010.


For more information about the ASHG 2010 Annual Meeting, our press guidelines and policies, and details about this year’s press briefing sessions, webcasts of ASHG’s press events, and expert speakers available for interview, please visit the meeting section.

Complimentary meeting registration will be available to members of the media who provide appropriate press credentials and identification. To pre-register to attend the ASHG 2010 meeting, please complete the online press registration form. For general information about the ASHG 60th Annual Meeting, please visit the meeting section.


Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. The nearly 8,000 members of ASHG include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses and others with a special interest in human genetics. The Society’s mission is to serve research scientists, health professionals and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG); (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, teachers, students and the general public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information about ASHG, please visit

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