Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Early Career Scientist Appointment

HHMI’s early career scientists are among the nation's most promising researchers, appointed to the Institute at a critical stage of their careers.

For more information, visit their web site.

Recipient

Neil Hunter
Associate professor of microbiology and of molecular and cellular biology - 2009

Geneticist Neil Hunter is elucidating the molecular machinery that shuffles the genetic deck by swapping strands of DNA segments. The process, known as homologous recombination, is central to evolution, reproduction, and prevention of cancer. Without it, the production of sperm and eggs would fail and genetic diversity would be constrained. Dividing cells would fail to properly repair breaks in their DNA, causing cancer. In yeast, Hunter has identified several previously unknown steps of homologous recombination. Now he’s moving his research into mice, where the process more faithfully mimics that seen in people. His future findings might have broad implications for fixing infertility and preventing cancer.