An internationally recognized geneticist, Dr. Szostak helped clarify the events that lead to chromosomal recombination and the function of telomeres, the specialized DNA sequences at the tips of chromosomes. For this work he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is also responsible for the construction of the world ‘s first yeast chromosome and the development of the technique of in vitro evolution of RNA, which enables the discovery of RNAs with desired functions through successive cycles of selection, amplification, and mutation.
Dr. Szostak’s research is currently focused on artificial life and its novel chemical systems, from which he hopes to uncover possible pathways leading to a solution for one of the most challenging conundrums: How does life originate? He holds over a dozen patents and serves as an advisor to the U.S. National Research Council.
2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
2008 A. H. Heineken Prize for Medicine
2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
2003 Harrison Howe Award, American Chemical Society
2000 Genetics Society of America Medal
1999 Elected Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences
1998 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
1997 NASA Exobiology Study Section
1996 Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennesey “Vinci of Excellence” Award
1996 Dolman Award, University of British Columbia
1997 Hans Sigrist Prize, University of Bern, Switzerland
1994 National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology
1986-1992 Program Director, Genetics of Cancer and Inherited Disease Training Grants, Harvard Medical School
1977 PhD, Cornell University