Mario Capecchi ’56
Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology, University of Utah
Mario R. Capecchi PhD was born in Verona, Italy, in 1937. He received his BS in chemistry and physics from Antioch College in 1961 and his PhD in biophysics from Harvard University in 1967. After six years on the Harvard School of Medicine faculty he joined the University of Utah as a professor of biology in 1973.
Mario is best known for his pioneering work on the development of gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem cells. This technology allows scientists to create mutations in any desired gene, giving them virtually complete freedom to manipulate the DNA sequence in the genome of living mice. His work in this area revolutionized the study of mammalian biology and is used to understand countless diseases by scientists worldwide. In 2007, he was recognized for this achievement with the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which he shared with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans.
His current research interests include the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development, neural development in mammals, production of mouse models of human genetic diseases, gene therapy, homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.
A distinguished professor of human genetics and biology, Mario belongs to the National Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and most recently, the National Academy of Medicine. The Nobel Prize tops a long list of worldwide awards and recognition he has received for his scientific achievements.