Hebrew U professors win prestigious Columbia science prize


(JTA) — Two Hebrew University of Jerusalem professors seen as pioneers in the field of epigenetics were honored with an award often seen as a precursor to a Nobel Prize.

Howard Cedar and Aharon Razin have received Columbia University’s 2016 Horwitz Prize, the New York City school announced on Tuesday. Gary Felsenfeld of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, also was awarded the prize.

Forty-three previous Horwitz Prize winners have gone on to win the Nobel.

Cedar and Razin’s work has strongly influenced epigenetics, the study of how organisms change by altering gene expression and not genetic code.

Felsenfeld’s research has helped explain how chromatin, a combination of DNA and proteins, regulates gene expression.

“These three scientists have advanced our understanding of how gene regulation works and what happens when the processes go wrong,” Lee Goldman, chief executive of Columbia University Medical Center, said in a news release. “These are fundamental medical discoveries that may lead to innovative treatments for a range of diseases.”

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