The Vilcek Foundation has named Antonio J. Giraldez, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics, one of three recipients of the 2014 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, awards that recognize significant contributions to American science made by immigrants.

Giraldez, born in Spain, focuses on the ways microRNAs (mRNAs) and other non-coding RNAs shape gene expression during embryonic development. Working with zebrafish, he and colleagues recently found that the mrna family miR-430 is responsible for the clearance of maternal mRNAs, providing insight into the mechanisms of how mRNAs regulate gene expression. His findings aid our understanding of the first steps that lead to embryogenesis after fertilization.

The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science is awarded annually to three foreign-born scientists, age 38 or younger, for exceptional accomplishments early in their career. Each recipient receives a $35,000 cash award.

In 2013, Yale’s Richard A. Flavell, Ph.D., chair and Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, and Ruslan M. Medzhitov, Ph.D., David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, were jointly awarded the Vilcek Prize for Biomedical Science for their long-standing and influential work on the innate immune system, the first line of defense against infection by bacteria and viruses.