Jack Szostak (1952), United States

Jack W. Szostak was awarded the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics 2008 for his highly original insights into the fundamental processes of life.

Jack SzostakExamples of key publications

  • Szostak, J.W, Blackburn, E.H., Cloning yeast telomeres on linear plasmid vectors. In: Cell 1982; 29: 245-55
  • Szostak, J.W., Orr-Weaver, T.L., Rothstein, R.J., Stahl, F.J., The double-strand-break repair model for recombination. In: Cell 1983; 33: 25-35
  • Murray, A.W., Szostak , J.W., Construction of artificial chromosomes in yeast. In: Nature 1983; 305: 189-193
  • Roberts, R.W., Szostak, J.W., RNA-peptide fusions for the in vitro selection of peptides and proteins. In: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1997; 94: 12297-12302
  • Seelig, B., Szostak, J.W., Selection and evolution of enzymes from a partially randomized non-catalytic scaffold. In: Nature 2007; 448: 828-831.


Jack Szostak (1952) was only nineteen when he was awarded his B.S. in cell biology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, USA), where he worked as a research assistant until 1979. He then moved to Harvard Medical School, where he has been a professor with the Department of Genetics since 1988. In that same year, he accepted an appointment with the Department of Molecular Biology at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, where he became an Alex Rich Distinguished Investigator in 2000. In 1998, Szostak became an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Szostak has been granted numerous patents and is a member of several American academies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His previous awards include the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (together with Elizabeth Blackburn and others). Szostak is praised on all sides for his versatility and originality.

Presentation speech

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