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Dr. Szostak is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and the Alex Rich Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Szostak’s early research on telomere structure and function and the role of telomere maintenance in preventing cellular senescence was recognized by the 2006 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In the 1990s, Dr. Szostak and his colleagues developed in vitro selection as a tool for the isolation of functional RNA, DNA, and protein molecules from large pools of random sequences. Dr. Szostak’s current research interests are in the laboratory synthesis of self-replicating systems and the origin of life.