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Phil Sahm

Science Writer, Office of Public Affairs
Email: phil.sahm@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-581-2517

May 09, 2013 3:53 PM

Mario Capecchi receiving award

(SALT LAKE CITY)—University of Utah Nobel laureate and human geneticist Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., received an honorary doctoral degree from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The honorary degree was conferred at the BGU 43rd annual board of governors meeting in Beer-Sheeva, Israel.

BGU President Rivka Carmi, a geneticist herself, said the degree was being conferred in recognition of a pioneer in the study of human genetics whose innovative research has led to a new understanding of the workings of the human body and genetic diseases. “This degree is in acknowledgement of a brilliant scientist whose discoveries are leading the way to curing serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses, as well as providing a better understanding of the development of the fetus in the womb and the aging process," Carmi said.

Capecchi, professor of human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, received the 2007 Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology based on his innovative work in gene targeting of mouse embryo-derived stem cells. This technology allows scientists to create mice with mutations in any desired gene, granting them complete freedom to manipulate the DNA sequences in the genome of living mice. Furthermore, this technology allows scientists to evaluate in detail the function of any gene during the development or post-developmental phase of the mouse.

"It is an honor to be acknowledged by this esteemed University, as well as to participate in the Annual Board of Governors Meeting taking place at the campus in Beer-Sheva," Capecchi said.