The award, bestowed with a prize of USD 3 million (EUR 2.6 million), is the most highly-endowed scientific honor in the world. The Breakthrough Prize for Life Sciences honors scientific breakthroughs leading to a better understanding of biological systems and contributing to a longer life span for human beings. The Austrian-born scientist has been working as a Professor in Cancer Research at MIT since 2011. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria and the Institute for Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna.
Amon is working on tracking down the cellular causes of cancer. She carries out research on yeast cells to focus on the phenomenon of aneuploidy. This describes gene defects occurring in the process of cell division which can result in missing or an overly high number of chromosome sets. Ultimately this is responsible for serious diseases, including cancer. The prize was given at the beginning of November in Mountain View, California together with the other awards in the fields of physics and mathematics. The sponsors of the award include Google founder Sergey Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Tencent CEO Pony Ma, amongst others.