University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Nobel Laureate Capecchi Speaks at Mouse Genetics Seminar Sept. 4

Mario Capecchi, Ph.D.
Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics & Biology at the University of Utah, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and 2007 Nobel Laureate in Physiology & Medicine.

Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., recipient of a 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, presented on “Gene Targeting in the 21st Century: Mouse Models of Human Disease from Cancer to Neuropsychiatric Disorders” on September 4, 2012, in Carpenter Auditorium in the Given Building at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

The presentation was part of the 2012 Mouse Genetics Seminars, a week-long series of events organized by Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., UVM professor of medicine and director of the Transgenic/Knockout Mouse Facility, and sponsored by two College of Medicine Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) – the Vermont Center for Immunology & Infectious Diseases and the Vermont Lung Center.

Capecchi, who was born in Verona, Italy, is known for his pioneering role in developing gene targeting technology, which allows scientists to engineer mice to create animal models of a wide range of diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease. He shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Oliver Smithies, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Martin Evans, D.Sc., of the University of Cardiff, Wales. Currently a distinguished professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah’s Eccles Institute of Human Genetics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Capecchi is also co-chairman of the department of human genetics at the University of Utah. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry and physics from Antioch College and his Ph.D. degree in biophysics from Harvard University, where his advisor was James D. Watson, Ph.D., co-discoverer of the DNA double helix and a 1962 Nobel Prize recipient.

In addition to receiving a Nobel Prize, Capecchi’s achievements in gene targeting were recognized with the 2001 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the 2001 National Medal of Science, America’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. In 2003, he also received the Wolf Prize in Medicine, Israel’s highest award for medical science, and the 2003 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) International Award for Cancer Research. Capecchi also received the 2005 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. A member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences, his numerous other honors include the Fifth Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research (1992), Gairdner Foundation International Award for Achievements in Medical Science (1993), General Motors Corporation’s Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize for Outstanding Basic Science Contributions to Cancer Research (1994), Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (1996), the Franklin Medal for Advancing Our Knowledge of the Physical Sciences (1997), and the University of Utah’s Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence (1998).

Among Capecchi’s research interests are the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development; neural development in mammals; production of murine models of human genetic diseases; gene therapy; and homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.

In addition to Capecchi, presenters at the 2012 Seminars included Dr. Roger Davis, Dr. Chuxia Deng, Dr. Steven Fiering, and Dr. Edward Weinstein. Link to the Mouse Genetics Seminars schedule.