H. Robert Horvitz

H. Robert Horvitz

David H. Koch Professor; Member, McGovern Institute for Brain Research; Member, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

H. Robert Horvitz analyzes the roles of genes in animal development and behavior, gaining insight into human disease.





Sally Shin



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 1974, Harvard University
  • BS, 1968, Mathematics and Economics, MIT

Research Summary

Our lab examines how genes control animal development and behavior. We use the experimentally tractable nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to identify and analyze molecular and cellular pathways involved in these important areas of biology. Ultimately, we hope to clarify these fundamental biological mechanisms and provide further insight into human disease.


  • U.S. National Academy of Inventors, Member, 2015
  • American Association for Cancer Research Academy, Fellow, 2013
  • Royal Society of London, Foreign Member, 2009
  • Genetics Society (U.K.), Mendel Medal, 2007
  • Eli Lilly Lecturer Award, 2007
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James R Killian Jr Faculty Achievement Award, 2006
  • National Academy of Medicine, Member, 2003
  • American Cancer Society, Medal of Honor, 2002
  • The Nobel Foundation, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2002
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb, Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience, 2001
  • March of Dimes, Developmental Biology, 2000
  • Gairdner Foundation, Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1999
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 1991
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 1989
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 1989
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, HHMI Investigator, 1988

Recent Publications

  1. H3.3 Nucleosome Assembly Mutants Display a Late-Onset Maternal Effect. Burkhart, KB, Sando, SR, Corrionero, A, Horvitz, HR. 2020. Curr Biol 30, 2343-2352.e3.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.046PMID:32470364
  2. Neurohormonal signaling via a sulfotransferase antagonizes insulin-like signaling to regulate a Caenorhabditis elegans stress response. Burton, NO, Dwivedi, VK, Burkhart, KB, Kaplan, REW, Baugh, LR, Horvitz, HR. 2018. Nat Commun 9, 5152.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07640-wPMID:30514845
  3. Hypoxia-inducible factor cell non-autonomously regulates C. elegans stress responses and behavior via a nuclear receptor. Pender, CL, Horvitz, HR. 2018. Elife 7, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.36828PMID:30010540
  4. A C9orf72 ALS/FTD Ortholog Acts in Endolysosomal Degradation and Lysosomal Homeostasis. Corrionero, A, Horvitz, HR. 2018. Curr Biol 28, 1522-1535.e5.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.03.063PMID:29731301
  5. Presumptive TRP channel CED-11 promotes cell volume decrease and facilitates degradation of apoptotic cells in Caenorhabditis elegans. Driscoll, K, Stanfield, GM, Droste, R, Horvitz, HR. 2017. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114, 8806-8811.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1705084114PMID:28760991
  6. The CDK8 Complex and Proneural Proteins Together Drive Neurogenesis from a Mesodermal Lineage. Luo, S, Horvitz, HR. 2017. Curr Biol 27, 661-672.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.056PMID:28238659
  7. Insulin-like signalling to the maternal germline controls progeny response to osmotic stress. Burton, NO, Furuta, T, Webster, AK, Kaplan, RE, Baugh, LR, Arur, S, Horvitz, HR. 2017. Nat Cell Biol 19, 252-257.
    doi: 10.1038/ncb3470PMID:28166192
  8. Both the apoptotic suicide pathway and phagocytosis are required for a programmed cell death in Caenorhabditis elegans. Johnsen, HL, Horvitz, HR. 2016. BMC Biol 14, 39.
    doi: 10.1186/s12915-016-0262-5PMID:27185172
  9. The Conserved VPS-50 Protein Functions in Dense-Core Vesicle Maturation and Acidification and Controls Animal Behavior. Paquin, N, Murata, Y, Froehlich, A, Omura, DT, Ailion, M, Pender, CL, Constantine-Paton, M, Horvitz, HR. 2016. Curr Biol 26, 862-71.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.049PMID:26948874
  10. Distinct Neural Circuits Control Rhythm Inhibition and Spitting by the Myogenic Pharynx of C. elegans. Bhatla, N, Droste, R, Sando, SR, Huang, A, Horvitz, HR. 2015. Curr Biol 25, 2075-89.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.052PMID:26212880
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