Jack W. Szostak

Jack W. Szostak

name = Jack W. Szostak

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birth_date = birth date|1952|11|9
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work_institution = Harvard Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
alma_mater = McGill University, Cornell University
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Jack W. Szostak (born November 9, 1952) is an American biologist and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Early life

Szostak graduated with a BS in cell biology from McGill University at the age of 19. He completed his PhD in biochemistry at Cornell University before moving to Harvard Medical School to start his own lab.


Szostak has made contributions to the field of genetics. He is credited with the construction of the world's first yeast artificial chromosome. That achievement helped scientists to map the location of genes in mammals and to develop techniques for manipulating genes. His achievements in this area are also instrumental to the Human Genome Project.

His discoveries have helped to clarify the events that lead to chromosomal recombination—the reshuffling of genes that occurs during meiosis—and the function of telomeres, the specialized DNA sequences at the tips of chromosomes.

Today, his lab focuses on the challenges of understanding the origin of life on the early earth, and the construction of artificial cellular life in the laboratory.

Awards and honors

Szostak has received several awards and honors for his contributions. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and New York Academy of Sciences. He has received the following awards:

* United States National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology
* Hans Sigrist Prize, University of Bern, Switzerland
* Genetics Society of America Medal
* The 2006 Lasker Award
* The 2008 Dr A.H. Heineken Prize


*cite web |url=http://ccib.mgh.harvard.edu/vitas/SzostakCV.pdf |title=Curriculum Vitae of Jack W. Szostak |accessdate=2007-11-02 |publisher=Massachusetts General Hospital

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