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For Immediate Release

The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine and Gender and the Genome (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers) Announce the Robert S. Birch $25,000 Award Competition for the Best Original Research Paper or Commentary

Contact: Kathryn Ryan

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
140 Huguenot Street
New Rochelle, NY 10801
(914) 740-2100 or (800) M-LIEBERT
Fax (914) 740-2101

New Rochelle, NY, January 19, 2017—The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine and Gender and the Genome (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers) are pleased to announce a competition for a prize of $25,000 (the Robert S. Birch Award) for the Best Original Research Paper or Scholarly Legal/Ethical Commentary Relating Gender-Specific Medicine to Investigations at the Molecular/Cellular Level. The intent of the prize is to encourage submissions of original research or scholarly legal/ethical commentary of the highest quality concerning the relevance of biological sex/gender to cutting edge 21st-century science for publication in Gender and the Genome. A blue-ribbon panel convened specifically for this purpose will judge the submitted papers.

The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine is a continuation of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine, formed at Columbia University in 1997. This competition reflects our current focus on the new science of the 21st century, which is expanding explosively to explore the world that the Human Genome Project opened in 2000, when an international team of experts gave us a solid description of the architecture of the human genetic code.

The new journal, Gender and the Genome, the official journal of The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, fills a unique niche in medical publishing. It has a specific, well-defined mission: to explore the impact of sex/gender on the data and concepts generated as a result of utilizing state-of-the-art methods and new capabilities. The journal is designed to acknowledge the consequences of the profound change in our ability to explore, augment - and to transform - the nature of created life and to manufacture entirely novel species, both biological and mechanical.

The scientific revolution is not confined to genomic manipulation: engineers are producing an explosion of mechanical devices meant to augment human functional ability and to create increasingly more competent machines to assist human life on this and ultimately other planets. It is a new world, in which molecular biologists, engineers and clinical investigators can—and are —collaborating to improve and perfect the human condition in ways that we had never imagined. Just as importantly, these efforts have consequences that must be carefully considered and regulated.

We are casting a wide-flung net for our journal, asking not only for reports of original research, but for commentary from legal experts and ethicists about the new technology of altering created life and generating entirely new species. The Human Genome Writing Project is only one of the bold new ideas that hold infinite possibilities for the transformation of life as we know it. Lawyers who participated in our past symposia have expressed an interest in submitting some of their provocative and thoughtful commentary for publication in our first issues. Our aim is to concentrate on radically new technology, comment on the ethical and legal aspects of what the scientific community is doing, and consider the most effective ways to translate the achievements of molecular biologists and engineers into the improvement and prolongation of human life on earth and ultimately throughout the universe.

“We are very grateful for Mr. Birch's thoughtful and generous gift. It is an extremely effective way to support the integration of sex/gender into 21st century science—science that employs revolutionary new methods, many of which marry technology with biology to alter existing phenotypes and even to create entirely new forms of life,” says Marianne J. Legato, M.D., Ph.D. (hon. c.), F.A.C.P. Emerita Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins; Editor-in-Chief of Gender and the Genome; and Founder and Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine.



1.   All submissions will be peer reviewed, and if accepted, will be published within six weeks of acceptance in Gender and the Genome. The agreement to publish the entry, if favorably peer-reviewed, is a condition of entry in the competition.

2.   Judging will assess the following criteria:

A.Originality, i.e., state-of-the-art methods used to investigate the hypothesis being tested

B.  Writing quality

C.In an original research paper, statistical significance of the data

D.Appropriateness of models and their relevance to human physiology

3.   An overall score will be calculated based on the ratings of factors described above.

4.   Each reviewer will be asked to judge all papers.


5.   Papers must be in English.

6.   Submissions must be either a:

A.Report of original scientific investigation which incorporates data generated by state-of-the-art methodology. Some examples include reports of genome perturbation, studies that identify specific genes with disease states, and/or novel cellular mechanisms of disease. We are interested in 21st-century techniques that have evolved since the delineation of the structure of the human genome. Papers must demonstrate or at least speculate on the relevance of the research described to biological sex/gender. This competition is designed to collect observations that show that sex is an essential factor that must be considered as progress in genomic alterations and synthetic biology advances.

B.  Scholarly legal or ethical commentary on some of the most interesting subjects in current biomedical science. Some examples include the manipulation of the human genome, the legal rights of advanced robots, and whether to allow humans to enhance performance by technological interventions or genetic manipulation.


7.   The deadline for submission is September 30, 2017. No papers submitted to the web-based manuscript submission and peer review system after that date will be considered for the prize.

8.   The entry must be submitted to Gender and the Genome via the usual manuscript submission process and meet all submission requirements. Instructions for authors are available in every issue of our journal and online at the Gender and the Genome website.

9.   The corresponding author must notify the Gender and the Genome editor that the manuscript is a submission for the Robert S. Birch Award competition.


10.The competition is open to individuals or teams from academia, industry or government, including investigators to whom the Foundation has given research support in the past. Members of the journal editorial board are also eligible to submit their work for consideration.

11.The following individuals, even if part of a group of coauthors, may not apply: prize competition reviewers, current employees or volunteers of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

12.If the winning or any of the winning authors comes from a country subject to an embargo or sanction by the U.S. government at the time of the award, written verification regarding the legality of prize payment will be required from the appropriate U.S. government agency before the award can be issued.

Payment of Award

13.The total prize of $25,000 will be awarded as a single sum to the winning author(s) of the Robert S. Birch Award.

14.There is no limit to the number of authors on a single paper submission. However, the prize will be evenly split between all eligible authors of the winning paper, regardless of how many people collaborated on the work.

15.The award will be paid no later than 60 days after the winning paper has been selected.

16.In the case that the winning author or any of the winning authors are forbidden from receiving the financial award due to U.S. embargo or sanction, non-economic recognition will be provided and prize will be awarded to the next highest-scoring paper.


17.By submitting the entry, authors agree to permit Gender and the Genome, The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, and Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers to use their names, affiliations, and head shot pictures in informational materials or publicity messaging connected to the competition.

18.Authors will select from and abide by the standard set of copyright claims used for Gender and the Genome.


19.The prize will be awarded as follows:

A.Submission Deadline: September 30, 2017

B.  The process of peer review and acceptance of revised manuscripts will begin immediately upon the submission of each new manuscript.

C.Public announcement of winning paper/author: February 1, 2018

All questions and comments regarding the Robert S. Birch Award competition can be sent to 

Sponsors Involved in the Competition for the Robert S. Birch Award


Mr. Robert Birch is a managing director of Oppenheimer & Co. and a trustee of The Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine. His philanthropy supports a wide variety of institutions and programs. He established this award to support the continuing exploration of the impact of biological sex/gender on human function and he believes it will improve our ability to prevent, treat and improve the outcome of disease.

                                                  MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC. PUBLISHERS

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Human Gene Therapy, Stem Cells and Development, DNA and Cell Biology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
140 Huguenot Street
New Rochelle, NY 10801
(914) 740-2100 or (800) M-LIEBERT
Fax (914) 740-2101