ASHG Honors Emmanouil Dermitzakis, PhD with the 2021 Curt Stern Award

Published: Monday, July 12, 2021, 12:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Media Contact: Krystal Foster, 631-946-0740

Emmanouil Dermitzakis, PhD, Recipient of the 2021 Curt Stern Award
Emmanouil Dermitzakis, PhD, Recipient of the 2021 Curt Stern Award

ROCKVILLE, MD – The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has named Emmanouil (Manolis) Dermitzakis, PhD, as the 2021 recipient of the Curt Stern Award. Dr. Dermitzakis has just joined GSK as VP, Computational Biology in R&D and is also Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development of the University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland. He was the founding Director of the Health 2030 Genome Center.

“ASHG is excited to recognize Dr. Dermitzakis. His use of genetic variation to understand the chromatin regulatory domains provides a fresh look at the trans-regulatory potential of the genome,” said ASHG President Gail Jarvik, MD, PhD. “He understands the complexity of human genetics and has innovative ways to further explore the unknown. He is doing exciting things in our field, and we look forward to more to come.”

This annual award, which includes a plaque and a $10,000 award, is named for the late pioneering geneticist Curt Stern, PhD, and recognizes genetics and genomics researchers who have made significant scientific contributions during the past decade.

“Manolis is simply one of the best geneticists of his generation worldwide,” noted Stylianos E. Antonarakis, MD, DSc, Professor of Genetic Medicine, University of Geneva Medical School, in his nomination letter. “He has made important contributions to the understanding of functional variation of the human genome, and he is among the world leaders in the effort to understand the impact of individual genetic variation in health and disease. Recently he has used genetic variation to understand the chromatin regulatory domains; the results of these studies provide a fresh look at the trans-regulatory potential of the genome.”

Dr. Dermitzakis has been one of the first scientists to reveal the importance of non-coding DNA in evolution and disease susceptibility. His seminal papers on the evolution of regulatory elements showed the dynamic nature of regulatory sequences. His group has pioneered the analysis of non-coding regulatory variants in the human genome and their effect on gene expression regulation, chromatin patterns and regulatory interactions, and 3D genome interactions in cis and trans regulatory variants and how they are impacting cellular function as well as disease susceptibility and cancer. He played a leading role in many major international genetics projects such as ENCODE, HapMap, GTEx, and more recently in the International Common Disease Alliance (ICDA).

He obtained his B.Sc. in 1995 and M.Sc. in 1997 in Biology from the University of Crete (Greece) and his PhD in 2001 from the Pennsylvania State University in the United States, studying the evolutionary biology and population genetics of regulatory DNA in mammals and Drosophila.

Although ASHG made a decision to host the Society’s annual meeting virtually, the exact timing of the Curt Stern 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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