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Fellows Directory

Jack Szostak

Jack Szostak

Credit: Photo Li Huang

Professor Jack Szostak FRS


Elected: 2019


Dr Szostak’s early studies of DNA recombination led to the double-strand-break repair model for meiotic recombination. At the same time he contributed to our understanding of telomere structure and function, and the role of telomere maintenance in preventing cellular senescence. Subsequently his laboratory used directed evolution to isolate novel nucleic acid sequences with specific ligand binding and catalytic properties. Dr. Szostak’s current research interests focus on the laboratory synthesis of self-replicating systems and the origin of life.

Dr. Szostak received his BSc from McGill University (1972), and his PhD from Cornell University (1977). 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 at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr Szostak received the 2006 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2006) and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2009). He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the American Philosophical Society, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professional positions

Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago


  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

    Jointly with Carol W Greider and Elizabeth Helen Blackburn FRS

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