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H. Robert Horvitz

AKA Howard Robert Horvitz

Born: 8-May-1947
Birthplace: Chicago, IL

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Genetic regulation of organ development

In ninth grade H. Robert Horvitz commandeered his family's spare bathroom to breed Drosophila (fruit flies), replicating Gregor Mendel's experiments into heredity for a high school science project. During his college years he worked for IBM every summer -- the first year as an office flunky, but thereafter as a programmer and teaching programmers. He majored in mathematics and economics at MIT, where he edited the school paper and was elected student body president.

In the 1970s, studying cell death (apoptosis), Horvitz showed that in many cases cell death is not brought on by damage or disease, but because the cell has enacted an endogenous procedure of suicide. Normal, healthy cells sometimes trigger their own deaths, and Horvitz showed that this is a normal process, necessary for removing unnecessary or damaged cells. Along with Sydney Brenner and John E. Sulston, Horvitz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2002.

His wife, Martha Constantine-Paton, is a biology professor at MIT. His sister, Carol Horvitz, is a biology professor at the University of Miami in Florida.

Father: Oscar Freedom Horvitz (GAO accountant, b. 3-Nov-1918, d. 1989 Lou Gehrig's disease)
Mother: Mary R. Savit Horvitz (school teacher, b. 5-Jun-1921, m. 30-Jun-1942)
Sister: Carol Cecile Horvitz (biologist, b. 1950)
Wife: Martha Constantine-Paton (biologist)

    High School: Niles East High School, Skokie, IL (1964)
    University: Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1968)
    University: Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1968)
    University: MA Biology, Harvard University (1972)
    University: PhD Biology, Harvard University (1974)
    Scholar: Molecular Biology, Medical Research Council (1974-78)
    Teacher: Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978-86)
    Professor: Cancer Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1986-)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 2002 (with Sydney Brenner and John E. Sulston)
    National Academy of Sciences
    IBM Summer worker, Chicago offices (1964-68)
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (1988-)
    Science Debate 2008
    Austrian Ancestry Maternal
    Belarusian Ancestry Paternal
    Jewish Ancestry
    Polish Ancestry Maternal
    Russian Ancestry
    Ukrainian Ancestry Maternal
    Risk Factors: Asthma

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