By Frederik Wittock, Senior Director, Global Communications, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services, L.L.C., Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V.
Each year, we honor the work of passionate and creative scientists who have made an impact on human health through the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. Dr. Paul Janssen, better known as Dr. Paul, founded Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V. in 1953 (Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V. joined the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in 1961). Dr. Paul was a gifted and dedicated physician and scientist who helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines.
This year’s award winner, Axel Ullrich, Ph.D., director of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, certainly embodies the spirit of Dr. Paul. The work of Dr. Ullrich has helped to significantly improve the lives of those with chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer. His discoveries have led to novel cancer therapies and genetically engineered human insulin, among others.
I had the opportunity to attend the award announcement in London during the 6th annual World Conference of Science Journalists, of which Johnson & Johnson is a sponsor. This was the perfect venue to celebrate the achievements of Dr. Ullrich and the legacy of Dr. Paul. The conference brought together journalists, scientists, and communication professionals to discuss more effective ways of communicating the latest scientific advances, debates, and key issues. Dr. Ullrich was not only an award recipient but also a speaker at the conference, where he provided journalists with his perspective on how scientists and the media can better work together to improve the reporting of cancer breakthroughs.
I think Dr. Paul would be pleased to see scientists, journalists, and others in the health care industry working together to advance science with the common goal of improving the lives of patients.