Horwitz, H. Robert

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HORWITZ, H. ROBERT (1947– ), U.S. biologist and Nobel laureate. Horwitz was born in Chicago and graduated in mathematics and economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit) (1967), before attaining his M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1974) in biology at Harvard University under the direction of W. Gilbert and J.D. Watson. After a post-doctoral research fellowship with Sydney Brenner at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England (1974–78) he joined the staff of mit where he became professor of biology (1986) and investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1988). Horwitz's broad research interests concern the genetic control of development, cell lineage, programmed cell death, and behavior. After graduate studies with bacterial viruses, he used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as an experimentalmodel to map the development of muscles, the central nervous system, and other organs. His studies of induced mutations in this nematode have also given insight into human diseases, notably cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, in whose investigation he has maintained an active interest. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine (2002), jointly with Sydney Brenner and John Sulston. His many honors include election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1991), the Gairdner Award (1999), and the Genetics Society of America Medal (2001). He has a great interest in scientific education and science policy.