Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science

Established in 1968, this recognition prize honors a senior investigator who has made major accomplishments in basic research that have significantly advanced the science and/or practice of gastroenterology. For the purpose of this award, the term “gastroenterology” encompasses any gastrointestinal discipline, including hepatology. To read about all 2021  AGA recognition prize winners, please read the press release.

Nominations are closed for the year. We will announce the 2022 recipients in January.


Created in 1968, the Distinguished Achievement Award in Basic Science recognizes an individual whose accomplishments in basic research have significantly advanced the science and practice of gastroenterology. Since 2013, the prize has been awarded annually.


Nominees must be current AGA members and have demonstrated exemplary service to AGA, such as committee service and/or AGA fellowship. Candidates need not be gastroenterologists and consideration will be given to scientists and medical professionals from all fields; however, the nominee’s contributions must have significantly impacted the understanding of basic biology as it relates to the gastrointestinal tract.

Selection process

The recipient is selected by the AGA Governing Board. Nominees will be reviewed using the eligibility criteria listed above.


The recipient will receive a $5,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the AGA Awards Ceremony during Digestive Disease Week®. AGA will reimburse the recipient’s travel expenses and provide hotel accommodations for up to two nights. Travel expenses for one guest will also be reimbursed.

Nomination and submission process

All nominations must be submitted online by a primary nominator who is an AGA member. The names of additional AGA members who support the nomination should be listed on the nomination form.

The following supporting materials must be uploaded with the nomination form in PDF format. Please title the files using the nominee’s last name, first initial and the type of file (i.e., DoeJ_Letter.pdf, DoeJ_CV.pdf).

  • A nomination letter, not to exceed two pages, signed by the primary nominator and additional AGA members who support the nomination. If the letter has multiple signatures, additional signature pages beyond the two-page limit are allowed.
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae.

Members of the AGA Governing Board may not nominate or support another AGA member’s nomination.


Please forward all questions about this and other AGA recognition prizes to 301-941-2619 or via email at awards@gastro.org.

Recipients (1968–2020)

2021Kim Barrett, PhD, AGAF
2020R. Balfour Sartor, MD
2019Harry B. Greenberg, MD: Viral Pathogenesis
2018T. Jake Liang, MD, AGAF: Viral Hepatitis
2017Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD: Gastric Physiology and Pathophysiology
2016Mark Donowitz, MD, AGAF: Intestinal Sodium Absorption/Diarrhea
2014John A. Williams, MD, PhD: Regulation of the Exocrine Pancreas
2013Pelayo Correa, MD: Pathology and Epidemiology of Gastrointestinal Cancers
2011Sidney J. Winawer: Polyps and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
2010Mary K. Estes, PhD: Gastroenteritis Virus Pathogenesis and New Vaccines
2008John G. Forte: Discovery and Characterization of the H,K-ATPase
2007Daniel K. Podolsky: Healing and Repair within the GI Tract
2005Henry J. Binder: Colonic Ion Transport/Diarrhea
2004Raymond DuBois, Jr.: COX-2
2001Nicholas F. LaRusso: Cholangiopathies
2002Gabriel M. Makhlouf: Regulation of Gastrointestinal Function by Gut Peptides
1998John Walsh: Neurohumoral Control of Gastric Secretion in Humans or Animals/Human Peptic Ulcer Disease
1996Young S. Kim: Mucosal Glycoproteins
1995Barry Marshall: Helicobacter Pylori
1993James D. Jamieson: Exocytosis from the Pancreatic Acinar Cell: The Outs and Ins of It
1991Jeffrey Gordon: The Use of Transgenic Mice to Study Gut Epithelial Cell Differentiation
1990Martin C. Carey: Reflections from Moving Objects: Micelles in Bile and Gut Revisisted
1989James L. Boyer: What Makes Bile Flow?
1987Joseph H. Szurszewski: Myo-Neural Mechanisms of GI Motility and Dysmotility, Predictors and Disease
1986Michael D. Levitt: Gaseous Insights into Intestinal Physiology
1984Michael Field: The Cell Biology of Diarrheal Disease
1983Kurt Isselbacher: Biochemical Studies of the Structure and Function of the Gut
1981Warren Strober: Immunoregulatory Defects in Inflammatory Diseases of the Gastrointestinal Tract
1980Rudi Schmid: Bilirubin: Old and New
1978John M. Dietschy: The Biological and Clinical Importance of Diffusion Barriers
1977Cyrus E. Rubin: Blood and Guts: More than a Quarter Century of Morphologic Research
1975Jared M. Diamond: Functional Organization of Epithelia: Dead End Channels and Leaky Cement
1974James McGuigan: Development and Current Status of Radioimmunoassay of Gastrin
1973Charles S. Lieber: Hepatic Injury and Metabolic Adaptation in Alcoholism
1972Donald M. Small: Biliary Lipids, Bile and Gallstones
1971John S. Fordtran: Models for the Intestinal Transport of Ions, Water and Sugars
1970Alan F. Hofmann: Functions and Dysfunctions of Bile Acids
1969Robert K. Crane: Digestive Absorptive Function: Lessons from the Brush Border
1968Irwin M. Ariazs: Inheritable Jaundice in Man and Other Animals