H. Robert Horvitz: Discovering Programmed Cell Death

Horvitz recalls the “aha!” moment when he realized that his lab’s work on programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in C. elegans was relevant to cancer in humans. This finding solidified his belief that the fundamental principles of biology are likely conserved across most species.

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Research Paper Discussed in this Talk

Hengartner MO, Horvitz HR. C. elegans cell survival gene ced-9 encodes a functional homolog of the mammalian proto-oncogene bcl-2. Cell. 1994 Feb 25;76(4):665-76.

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These questions and answers were designed to link the iBiology video to the research paper and for use as a classroom activity.

Prepared by Rachna Sharma.

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About the Speaker

Robert Horvitz is a Professor in the Biology Department, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Horvitz studies the development and behavior of C. elegans. His pioneering studies led to the identification of the first genes that control programmed cell death or apoptosis, work for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

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