Molecular biologists Michael Grunstein, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and C. David Allis, PhD, of The Rockefeller University have been pioneers in identifying and describing how histone modifications and chromatin structure affect gene regulation. Their groundbreaking discoveries not only revolutionized our understanding of molecular biology, but also were instrumental in launching the modern study of histones in epigenetics, with broad implications for human health and disease.
2016 Genetics Prize Recipients
The results of these and subsequent discoveries by Grunstein and Allis revolutionized molecular genetics, for they demonstrated unequivocally that changes to histones and the chromatin structure alter gene activity without affecting the DNA sequence itself. This area of study—epigenetics—is now one of the fastest growing in science. Its implications are enormous and have already led scientists to develop new approaches for treating human disease, including birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders.
The Gruber Foundation proudly presents the 2016 Genetics Prize to Michael Grunstein and David Allis for the discovery of the role of histone proteins and their covalent modification in the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression.