Dr. Mario R. Capecchi is an American molecular geneticist and a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He shared the prize with Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies. He is currently the Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Born in Italy in 1937, Dr. Capecchi emigrated to the United States after World War II and later became a geneticist and professor. He is famous for the groundbreaking work on targeted gene modification (creating a knockout mouse). This is a mouse, created by genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization, in which a particular gene has been turned off. Capecchi has also pursued a systematic analysis of the mouse Hox gene family. This gene family plays a key role in the control of embryonic development in all multicellular animals. They determine the placement of cellular development in the proper order along the axis of the body from head to toe.