Courtesy of Bachrach Photographers, Boston
A small roundworm has played an enormous role in both the life of biologist H. Robert Horvitz and the world of medicine. Horvitz's research on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans led to a new understanding of the process known as programmed cell death - research that offered insights into AIDS, strokes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2002, Horvitz won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. A native of Chicago, Horvitz currently serves as a professor of biology and a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.