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Prominent Poles

Jack William Szostak Polish-English-American biologist, co-discoverer of the way telomeres protect the chromosomes, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol W. Greider, 2009

Photo of Jack Szostak, biologist

Born:  November 9, 1952, London, United Kingdom

Note Polish connection. As indicated by Prof. Szostak his great-grandfather immigrated from then occupied Poland to USA at the turn of the century (early 1900).

Nobel Committee�s announcement. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak �for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.�

Early days. Szostak grew up in Canada. He graduated with a B.Sc in cell biology from McGill University at the age of 19. In 1970, as an undergraduate, he participated in The Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program under the mentorship of Dr. Chen K. Chai. He completed his PhD in biochemistry at Cornell University before moving to Harvard Medical School to start his own lab.

Research. 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 Earth, and the construction of artificial cellular life in the laboratory. Jck W.Szostak is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School,Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Awards and honors. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and New York Academy of Sciences. He has received among others 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; The 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (shared with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol W. Greider).

This article uses, mostly, material from the Wikipedia article "Jack W. Szostak" licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. :

Other sources:
Szostak Lab
Nobel Prize

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Prominent Poles