ASHG Honors Kenneth Lange, PhD with the 2020 Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education

Published: Monday, July 13, 2020, 12:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Kara Flynn, 301.634.8424

Kenneth Lange, PhD, recipient of ASHG’s Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education (courtesy Dr. Lange)

ROCKVILLE, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Kenneth Lange, PhD as the 2020 recipient of the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education. Dr. Lange is the Rosenfeld Professor of Computational Genetics in the Departments of Human Genetics, Computational Medicine, and Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This award, which includes a plaque with a $10,000 prize, recognizes individuals for contributions of exceptional quality and importance to human genetics education internationally. Awardees have had long-standing involvement in genetics education, producing diverse contributions of substantive influence on individuals and/or organizations.

“The Society is pleased to recognize Dr. Kenneth Lange for his contribution to science education at all levels, from graduate students to postdoctoral fellows,” ASHG President Anthony Wynshaw-Boris said. “Besides being an extraordinarily talented scientist, Dr. Lange’s devotion to education will continue as his students yield exciting discoveries for the field of human genetics into the future.”

In her nomination letter, Nancy Cox, PhD, the Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray Professor of Genetics and Director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute and the Division of Genetic Medicine at Vanderbilt University, stated, “Genetics is among the most quantitative of the biological sciences, and there has always been a critical need to not only educate general students of human genetics in the mathematic and statistical aspects of the science, but also to attract and educate the most quantitative of these students to seed the further development of quantitative human genetics. Ken Lange has truly excelled in these activities.”

Dr. Lange’s research areas include genetic epidemiology, population genetics, membrane physiology, demography, oncology, medical imaging, stochastic processes, computational statistics, and optimization theory. He has introduced many new models and computational techniques to statistical genetics. Given his background in applied mathematics and statistics, Dr. Lange has been in a unique position to transfer ideas from one domain of science to another. This cross-fertilization has helped quantitative genetics move forward more rapidly.

Concluding her nomination letter, Dr. Cox added, “Ken Lange attracted to his research group scientists with great potential for leadership, who learned from a master how to combine rigorous quantitative investigation with deep knowledge of human genetics to make major contributions to the field of human genetics.”

In addition to his research, Dr. Lange has a strong commitment to science education. He is a faculty member in the UCLA Genetics and Genomics, Biomathematics, and Statistics graduate programs and has mentored 20 PhD students and 8 postdoctoral fellows. He also served as department chair of two different departments, Human Genetics and Computational Medicine, for a total of 21 years.

Although ASHG has made the decision to host the Society’s annual meeting virtually, the exact timing of the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education Award Presentation is not yet known. An update will be provided as soon as information is available.


About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)

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

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