MARIO R. CAPECCHI was born in Verona, Italy in 1937. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry and physics from Antioch College in 1961 and his Ph.D. degree in biophysics from Harvard University in 1967. His thesis work, under the guidance of Dr. James D. Watson, included the analysis of the mechanisms of nonsense suppression; the initiation of protein synthesis, including the demonstration of Formylmethionine tRNA as the initiator of protein synthesis; and the mechanisms of protein termination. From 1967-69 Dr. Capecchi was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. In 1969 he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Harvard School of Medicine. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971. In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Utah as a Professor of Biology. Since 1988 Dr. Capecchi has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; since 1989, a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine; and since 1993, Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology.
Dr. Capecchi is best known for his pioneering work on the development of gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem (ES) cells, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine (2007) with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans for his work. His research interests include the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development, neural development in mammals, production of murine models of human genetic diseases, gene therapy, homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.