Lasker Award - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

American Society of Anesthesiologists and Anesthesiology Congratulates John B. “Iain” Glen, Ph.D., FRCA Recipient of the 2018 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award

CHICAGO – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and Anesthesiology, its peer-reviewed medical journal, congratulates John B. “Iain” Glen, Ph.D., FRCA, who today was named the 2018 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award recipient for his discovery and development of the anesthetic, propofol.

The Lasker Award is a preeminent honor given to those who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of human diseases. One basic and one clinical Lasker Award are issued each year. Eighty-six Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 32 in the last two decades.

“This award is richly deserved by Dr. Glen, whose seminal discovery and development of propofol changed the specialty of anesthesiology and medical care more broadly.  Propofol has improved our understanding of how anesthetics work, enhanced patient safety and clinical outcomes, and enabled innumerable patients to receive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with greater comfort and access,” said Evan Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Anesthesiology’s editor in chief.

Propofol is a short acting anesthetic that provides a faster, more clearheaded recovery for patients than had been previously available. It was discovered by Dr. Glen in 1977, approved for use in the United States in 1989 and today is listed on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. As of 2015, propofol is estimated to account for 29 percent of the global general anesthesia drug market.

“Our sincere congratulations and thanks to Dr. Glen on an award well deserved,” said ASA President James D. Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA. “Without his persistence, which included testing 5,000 different compounds, finally discovering propofol, then working for 13 years to bring it to market, the specialty of anesthesiology would be quite different. Dr. Glen’s discovery has resulted in a profound improvement in surgical and procedural care that has made a tremendous difference in the lives of our patients.”

Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. 

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.

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