This award honors Alessandra Lisi, a young researcher at ICBDSR Centre from 2002 to her untimely death in 2006. Over the years Alessandra’s working skill, ethic, grace and kindness made her an increasingly central part of the ICBDSR Centre. She died in a train accident (Rome Underground) on 17 October 2006, on her way to work at ICBDSR Centre. We miss her beyond words, and honour her memory with a Prize for young outstanding researchers.

Starting from the 2023, the Award is also in memory of Paula Margarita Hurtado Villa, a Medical Geneticist and Bioethicist, and professor in the Department of Basic Health Sciences at the Javeriana University in Cali Colombia. Paula created the Birth Defects Surveillance Program in Cali in 2010, which later became the Program for the Prevention and Surveillance of Orphan Diseases and Birth Defects (PREVERDEC). The program was ,since 2015, a full member of the ICBDSR.
We mourn her untimely passing, which took place in July 2022, and we want remember her with this Award for a young researcher engaged in the field of birth defects.

The award is presented at the Annual Meeting of the ICBDSR, during which the awardee will present his/her research on birth defects.

The 2017 Alessandra Lisi Award was given to

Vijaya Kancherla,

Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Epidemiology, and Epidemiologist at the Center for Spina Bifida Prevention,

Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA


Eligibility requirements
  • Active contribution to the epidemiology or surveillance of birth defects, preferably with an ICBDSR program
  • Evidence of a promising research career as well as ongoing commitment to the field, as demonstrated for example by high quality publications in peer-reviewed journals, initiating or coordinating research projects, or obtaining funding for research in the field of birth defects epidemiology.

Candidates must be within seven years of the date their last formal training in a field directly related to the disciplines of Birth Defects, Developmental Biology, Epidemiology or Teratology (e.g., degree conferral, postdoctoral fellowship, residency program, etc.)


The application package should be sent electronically to the ICBDSR Headquarter (, and should describe in detail the candidate’s accomplishments, current research interests and projects, and why the nominator believes the candidate’s career will promote knowledge of birth defects.
The application package should consist of the following items:

  • A letter of nomination from a program director (member of the ICBDSR).
  • A second letter of reference from another individual who is familiar with the candidate’s research career.
  • The candidate’s curriculum vitae.
  • Up to three representative publications of the candidate. The candidate does not need to be the first author on all publications, but it should be clear that the candidate has played a major role in the design and implementation of a research idea that has led or is likely to lead to an advance in birth defects research.
  • The candidate may supply a summary of his/her research career with a description of future research directions (optional).

The Award Committee will be composed by the Executive Committee of ICBDSR and the ICBDSR Centre Director. Additional members may be selected by the Executive Committee. At the discretion of the Award Committee, the prize may or may not be awarded in a given year.

Nature of the award:

The winner will receive a plaque and a travel stipend to the Annual Meeting of the Clearinghouse.


June: Deadline for submitting application
July: Notification of the winner
Fall: Awardee will give presentation at the Annual Meeting of the ICBDSR

Past awardees