2023 Prize Recipient
Marvin H. Caruthers, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado
Citation: For developing methods enabling efficient, accurate synthesis of specified DNA and RNA sequences, making possible the genomic revolution in biological science and medicine and improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally through diagnostic tests and genetic medicines.
The Inaugural Merkin Prize Symposium & Ceremony
was held on September 21, 2023 at the Richard N. Merkin Building, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Photos credit: Erik Jacobs, Anthem Multimedia
About Marvin H. Caruthers
Marvin H. Caruthers is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. A Guggenheim Fellow, Dr. Caruthers received his BS in Chemistry from Iowa State University and his PhD in Biochemistry from Northwestern University, and completed his post-doctoral studies with H.G. Khorana at University of Wisconsin and MIT.
Professor Caruthers’ interests include nucleic acid chemistry and biochemistry. Approximately 35 years ago, the methodologies that are used today for chemically synthesizing DNA were developed in his laboratory and incorporated into so-called “gene machines” for the purpose of synthesizing DNA, used by biochemists, biologists, and molecular biologists for many research applications. More recently, his laboratory has developed methods for RNA chemical synthesis and for the synthesis of DNA/RNA on chips. His laboratory has also pioneered the synthesis of many new nucleic acid analogs that have found applications in nucleic acid diagnostic and therapeutic areas.
He is the recipient of several academic and research awards, including the Elliott Cresson Medal from the Franklin Institute, the National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society, the Prelog Medal in recognition of pioneering work on the chemical synthesis of DNA, The Economist's Innovation Award in Bioscience for his contributions in automating the synthesis of DNA, and the US National Medal of Science for 2006, the nation’s highest distinction for honoring scientific achievement. Recently he has been the recipient of the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences, the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention, the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Frantisek Sorm Medal from the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Caruthers is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Academy of Inventors, and National Inventors Hall of Fame, and a Corresponding Member of the German Academy of Science Gottingen. One of the co-founders of Amgen and Applied Biosystems, Dr. Caruthers remains active in the biotechnology arena — most recently as a co-founder of Array BioPharma, miRagen Therapeutics, SynGenis, and ProGenis.