Gerald M. Rubin

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Primary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1987)


Gerald M. Rubin is a Senior Group Leader at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He was born in Boston in 1950 and educated in the Boston public schools. He received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971 and then worked at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, earning his Ph.D. in 1974 (University of Cambridge). He did postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine and held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and the Carnegie Institution of Science before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983 to assume the John D. MacArthur Professorship. Rubin was appointed an HHMI investigator in 1987. He moved to HHMI headquarters as a vice president in 2000 and assumed overall planning responsibility for the Janelia Research Campus in 2002. He and was appointed Janelia’s first director in 2003, a position he held until 2020. Dr. Rubin is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (London).

Research Interests

Dr. Rubin is known for his studies of genetics, genomics, and developmental biology in the fruit fly Drosophila. In 1982, he and Allan Spradling developed methods for making transgenic Drosophila, an advance that had a profound effect on research using the fruit fly. His laboratory at Berkeley did pioneering studies using genetic approaches to discover components of signaling pathways acting downstream of tyrosine kinases. He later led the publicly funded effort to sequence the Drosophila genome, collaborating with Celera Genomics to achieve this goal in 2000. His more recent work focuses on the anatomy and function of the Drosophila brain.

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