Capecchi and two of his colleagues Oliver Smithies, D.Phil and Sir Martin Evans, Ph.D received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work on developing technology to manipulate genes in mice.
“This is a tremendous honor for our University, for our Department of Human Genetics, and, specifically, for all the members of my laboratory, past and present who have contributed to this work,” said Capecchi upon receiving notification of the Nobel Prize early this morning. “The strong support and genuine interest of the University and Salt Lake City communities have been marvelous.”
The technology has made the production of animal models for human disease possible. It has also given researchers insight into understanding fundamental biological questions, including development of the brain in the embryo or its function in the adult. The process has been used to study diseases such as cystic fibrosis, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.