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Genetics professor named to IOM

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2009 - Winter


Arthur L. Horwich, M.D., HS ’78, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Genetics and professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Academy of Sciences announced in October. He was one of 65 people recognized last year by the academy for outstanding professional achievements in the fields of health and medicine. Horwich is an expert on the molecular mechanisms of protein folding, a process crucial to the maintenance of life. When proteins misfold, they can aggregate into plaques and lead to a variety of diseases. More than 20 diseases, including such neurodegenerative disorders as Alzheimer disease, have been linked to misfolded proteins.

The IOM election was the second major honor in a week for Horwich, who was also awarded the 2008 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize by Columbia University for outstanding contributions in biology and biochemistry. Horwich shared the prize with F. Ulrich Hartl, M.D., Ph.D., of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, and Rosalind Franklin, Ph.D., who was honored posthumously for her work on the discovery of the structure of DNA. Horwich and Hartl were honored for their contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of protein folding.