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Mario R. Capecchi Ph.D. speaker

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007
Nobel prize also awarded to Sir Martin J. Evans and Oliver Smithies
National Medal of Science - Biological Sciences 2001

Molecular Geneticist. Introduced specific gene modifications in mice by using embryonic stem cells. Gene Targeting, Homeobox Genes, Development, Behavior.

Mother incarcerated as political prisoner, Germany. "At age 4½, I set off on my own, living in streets, orphanages; joining gangs of homeless children; generally hungry. Vivid recollections, brutal beyond description."


Mario Capecchi's American maternal grandmother had moved to Italy to pursue art. At the end of World War II Mario's mother had survived a German concentration camp. Mario was 9 years old. His mother found him in a hospital.

"The same day that my mother arrived at the hospital, she bought me a full set of new clothes, a Tyrolean outfit complete with a small cap with a feather in it. I still have the hat. We went to Rome to process papers, where I had my first bath in six years, and then on to Naples. My mother's younger brother, Edward in the USA, had sent her money to buy two boat tickets to America. I was expecting to see roads paved with gold in America. As it turned out, I found much more: opportunities".

Robert Lefkowitz
Photo: © Nobel Foundation

Name: Mario Ramberg Capecchi Ph.D.
Birth: 6 October 1937, Verona, Italy
Institution: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Award: "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells"
Subject: Genetics
Portion of cash: 1/2
National Medal of Science - Biological Sciences 2001
Mentor: James Watson
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