HORVITZ, H. ROBERT / Life sciences / Researchers

International Center for Scientific Research


Life sciences / HORVITZ, H. ROBERT



David H. Koch Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Neurobiologist, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.

Horvitz Laboratory, M.I.T.

Research interests

Molecular, developmental and behavioral genetics of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Use of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and electrophysiology to analyze C. elegans development and behavior. Human molecular genetics, with a focus on the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Robert Horvitz is interested in how genes control animal development and behavior. He led the way in discovering how specific genes cause the programmed death of cells.

Prizes and awards

1986 : Spencer Award in Neurobiology
1988 : U.S. Steel Foundation Award in Molecular Biology
1991 : U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Member
1993 : V.D. Mattia Award (Roche Institute of Molecular Biology)
1994 : Hans Sigrist Award
1995 : Charles A. Dana Award
1996 : Ciba-Drew Award for Biomedical Science
1998 : Rosenstiel Award
1998 : Passano Award for the Advancement of Medical Science
1998 : General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, Alfred P. Solan Jr. Prize
1999 : Gairdner Foundation International Award
2000 : Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
2000 : Segerfalk Award
2000 : March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology
2000 : Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology or Biochemistry
2000 : Charles-Leopold Mayer Prize (French Academy of Sciences)
2001 : Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience
2001 : Genetics Society of America Medal



Wienholds, E., Kloosterman, W., Miska, E., Alvarex-Saavedra, E., Berezikov, E., de Bruijn, E., Tolstrup, N., Horvitz, H.R., Kauppinen, S., and Plasterk, R. (2005) MicroRNA expression in zebrafish embryonic development. Science 309, 310-311.

Lu, J., Getz, G., Miska, E., Alvarez-Saavedra, E., Lamb, J., Peck, D., Sweet-Cordero, A., Ferrando, A., Downing, J., Jacks, T., Horvitz, H.R., and Golub, T. (2005) MicroRNA expression profiles classify human cancers. Nature 435, 834-848

Horvitz, H.R. (2005) Stanley J. Korsmeyer (1950-2005). Nature 435, 161.

Alkema, M., Hunter-Ensor, M., Ringstad, N., and Horvitz, H.R. (2005) Tyramine functions independently of octopamine in the Caenorhabditis elegans nervous system. Neuron 46, 247-260


Miska, E., Alvarez-Saavedra, E., Yoshii, A., Townsend, M., Sestan, N., Rakic, P., Constantine-Paton, M., and Horvitz, H.R. (2004) Microarray analysis of microRNA expression in the developing mammalian brain. Genome Biology 5, R68. 1-13

Reddien, P. and Horvitz, H.R. (2004) The engulfment process of programmed cell deaths in Caenorhabditis elegans. Ann. Rev. Cell & Develop. Bio. 20, 193-221

Jaeger, S. Schwartz, H., Horvitz, H.R., and Conradt, B. (2004) The Caenorhabditis elegans F-box protein SEL-10 promotes female development and may target FEM-1 and FEM-3 for degradation by the proteasome. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 101, 12549-12554

Ceol, C. and Horvitz, H.R. (2004) A new class of C. elegans synMuv genes implicates a Tip60/NuA4-like HAT complex as a negative regulator of Ras signaling. Developmental Cell 6, 563-576

Yuan, J. and Horvitz, H.R. (2004) A first insight into the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis. Cell S116, S53-S56


Horvitz, H.R. (2003) Worms, Life and Death: Nobel Lecture, December 8, 2002. In Les Prix Nobel; The Nobel Prizes 2002. Frangsmyr, T., ed. Edita Norstedts Tryckeri AB, Stockholm, pp. 320-351.

Horvitz, H.R. (2003) H. Robert Horvitz -- Autobiography. In Les Prix Nobel; The Nobel Prizes 2002. Frangsmyr, T., ed. Edita Norstedts Tryckeri AB, Stockholm, pp. 284-319.

de la Cruz IP, Levin JZ, Cummins C, Anderson P, Horvitz H.R. (2003) sup-9, sup-10, and unc-93 may encode components of a two-pore K+ channel that coordinates muscle contraction in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Neurosci. 2003 Oct 8;23(27):9133-45.

Horvitz, H.R. (2003) Worms, Life, and Death (Nobel Lecture) Chembiochem. 4(8), 697-711

Sapp, P., Hosler, B., McKenna-Yasek, D., Chin, W., Gann, A., Genise, H., Gorenstein, J., Huang, M., Sailer, W., Scheffler, M., Valesky, M., Haines, J., Pericak-Vance, M., Siddique, T., Horvitz, H.R., and Brown, Jr., R.H. (2003) Identification of two novel loci for dominantly inherited familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amer. J. Human Genetics 73, 397-403.

Thomas, J.H., Ceol, C., Schwartz, H. and Horvitz, H.R. (2003) New genes that interact with lin-35 Rb to negatively regulate the let-60 Ras pathway in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 164, 135-151.

Hwang, H.-Y., Olson, S., Esko, J. and Horvitz, H.R. (2003) Caenorhabditis elegans early embryogenesis and vulval morphogenesis require chondroitin biosynthesis. Nature 423, 439-443.

Hwang, H.-Y., Olson, S., Brown, J., Esko, J and Horvitz, H.R. (2003) The Caenorhabditis elegans genes sqv-2 and sqv-6, which are required for vulval morphogenesis, encode glycosaminoglycan galactosyltransferase II and xylosyltransferase. J. Biol. Chem. 278, 11735-11738.


Hwang, H.-Y. and Horvitz, H.R. (2002) The C. elegans vulval morphogenesis gene sqv-4 encodes a UDP-glucose dehydrogenase that is temporally and spatially regulated. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99, 14224-14229.

Hwang, H.-Y. and Horvitz, H.R. (2002) The SQV-1 UDP-glucoronic acid decarboxylase and the SQV-7 nucleotide-sugar transporter may act in the Golgi apparatus to affect C. elegans vulval morphogenesis and embryonic development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99, 14218-14223.

Tzur, Y., Hersh, B., Horvitz, H.R. and Gruenbaum. Y. (2002) Fate of the nuclear lamina during Caenorhabditis elegans apoptosis. J. Struct. Biol. 137, 146-153.

Cameron, S., Clark S., McDermott, J., Aamodt, E. and Horvitz, H.R. (2002) PAG-3, a Zn finger transcription factor, determines neuroblast identity in C. elegans. Development 129, 1763-1774.

Hersh, B., Hartwieg, E. and Horvitz, H.R. (2002) The Caenorhabditis elegans mucolipin-like gene cup-5 is essential for viability and regulates lysosomes in multiple cell types. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 99, 4355-4360.


Starr, D., Hermann, G., Malone, C., Fixsen, W., Priess, J., Horvitz, H.R. and Han, M. (2001) UNC-83 encodes a novel component of the nuclear envelope and is essential for proper nuclear migration. Development 128, 5039-5050.

Zhou, Z., Caron, E., Hartwieg, E., Hall, A. and Horvitz, H.R. (2001) The C. elegans PH domain protein CED-12 regulates cytoskeletal reorganization via a Rho/Rac GTPase signaling pathway. Develop. Cell, 1, 477-489.

Lundquist, E., Reddien, P., Hartwieg, E., Horvitz, H.R. and Bargmann, C. (2001) Three C. elegans Rac proteins and several alternative Rac regulators control axon guidance, cell migration and apoptotic cell phagocytosis. Development 128, 4475-4488.

Ranganathan, R., Sawin, E., Trent, C. and Horvitz, H.R. (2001) Mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans serotonin reuptake transporter MOD-5 reveal serotonin-dependent and -independent activities of fluoxetine. J. Neurosci. 21, 5871-5884.

Reddien, P., Cameron, S. and Horvitz, H.R. (2001) Phagocytosis promotes programmed cell death in C. elegans. Nature 412, 198-202.

Ceol, C. and Horvitz, H.R. (2001) dpl-1 DP and efl-1 E2F act with lin-35 Rb to antagonize Ras signaling in C. elegans vulval development. Molec. Cell 7, 461-473.

Berninsone, P., Hwang, H.-Y., Zemtesava, I., Horvitz, H.R. and Hirschberg, C. (2001) SQV-7, a protein involved in C. elegans epithelial invagination and early embryogenesis, transports UDP-glucoronic acid, UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine and UDP-galactose. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98, 3738-3743.

Zhou, Z., Hartwieg, E. and Horvitz, H.R. (2001) CED-1 is a transmembrane receptor that mediates cell-corpse engulfment in C. elegans. Cell 104, 43-56.


Ranganathan, R., Cannon, S. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) MOD-1 is a serotonin-gated chloride channel that modulates locomotory behaviour in C. elegans. Nature 408, 470-475.

Hosler, B.A., Siddique, T., Sapp, P.C., Sailor, W., Huang, M.C., Hossain, A., Daube, J.R., Nance, M., Fan, C., Kaplan, J., Hung, W-Y., McKenna-Yasek, D., Haines, J.L., Pericak-Vance, M.A., Horvitz, H.R. and Brown, Jr., R.H. (2000) Linkage of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with frontotemporal dementia to chromosome 9q21-q22. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 284, 1664-1669.

Beitel, G., Lambie, E.J. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) The C. elegans gene lin-9, which acts in an Rb-related pathway, is required for gonadal sheath cell development and encodes a novel protein. Gene 254, 253-263.

Speliotes, E., Uren, A., Vaux, D. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) The survivin-like C. elegans BIR-1 protein acts with the Aurora-like kinase AIR-2 to affect chromosomes and the spindle midzone. Molec. Cell, 6, 211-223.

Harris, T., Hartwieg, E., Horvitz, H.R. and Jorgensen, E. (2000) Mutations in synaptojanin disrupt synaptic vesicle recycling. J. Cell Biol. 150, 589-599.

Sawin, E.R., Ranganathan, R. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) C. elegans locomotory rate is modulated by the environment through a dopaminergic pathway and by experience through a serotonergic pathway. Neuron 26, 619-631.

Slack, F.J., Basson, M., Liu, Z., Ambros, V., Horvitz, H.R. and Ruvkun, G. (2000) The lin-41 RBCC Gene Acts in the C. elegans Heterochronic Pathway between the let-7 Regulatory RNA and the LIN-29 Transcription Factor. Molec. Cell 5, 659-669.

Stanfield, G. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) The ced-8 gene controls the timing of programmed cell deaths in C. elegans. Molec. Cell 5, 423-433.

Wu, Y.-C., Stanfield, G. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) NUC-1, a Caenorhabditis elegans DNase II homolog, functions in an intermediate step of DNA degradation during apoptosis. Genes & Develop. 14, 536-548.

Reddien, P.W. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) CED-2/CrkII and CED-10/Rac control phagocytosis and cell migration in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature Cell Biology 2, 131-136.

Reinhart, B.J., Slack, F.J., Basson, M., Pasquinelli, A.E., Bettinger, J.C., Rougvie, A.E., Horvitz, H.R. and Ruvkun, G. (2000) The 21-nucleotide let-7 RNA regulates developmental timing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 403, 901-906.

Chen, F., Hersh, B., Conradt, B., Zhou, Z., Riemer, D., Gruenbaum, Y. and Horvitz, H.R. (2000) Translocation of C. elegans CED-4 to nuclear membranes during programmed cell death. Science 287, 1485-1489.

Lorson, M.A., Horvitz, H.R., van den Heuvel, S. (2000) LIN-5 is a novel component of the spindle apparatus required for chromosome segregation and cleavage plane specification in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Cell Biol. 148, 73-86.

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