Howard Cedar was born in New York in 1943. He received his B.Sc. in Mathematics from M.I.T. and then went on to do an M.D/Ph.D. in microbiology under the tutelage of James Schwartz at N.Y.U., graduating in 1970. He did postdoctoral research in neurochemistry with Eric Kandel at N.Y.U. and then carried out key studies on chromatin function and accessibility with Gary Felsenfeld at the N.I.H. in the framework of the Public Health Service. In 1973 he immigrated to Israel where he joined the faculty of the Hebrew University. There he began his work on DNA methylation and the principles of epigenetics, becoming a full professor in 1981. Cedar is the recipient of the Hestrin Award for Biochemistry (1979) and the Hebrew University Outstanding Investigator Award (1991). He was elected to EMBO in 1982, received the Israel Prize in 1999 and became a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences in 2003. He received the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2008 and the Emet Prize in Life Sciences in 2009, the Gairdner International Award in 2011, the Rothschild Prize for 2012 and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for 2016. He was elected a member of NAS in 2022.

Research Interests

Howard Cedar has devoted his research to understanding epigenetics as an important layer of information that provides a way to regulate use of the genetic text. His laboratory was involved in mapping the DNA methylation landscape and defining its function as a repressor of expression, deciphering the mechanism of its maintenance and in understanding how it is programmed during development. Current research projects are aimed at delineating the role of DNA methylation in tumorigenesis and aging, using animal model systems, as well as deciphering the mechanisms by which DNA methylation mediates the long-term impact of environment on programmed gene function throughout the body. The Cedar laboratory has also done research on the characterization and function of DNA replication timing in the animal genome. This epigenetic mechanism evidently plays a key role in the choosing of a single allele in each cell, thus enabling the generation of diversity in immune and olfactory receptor systems as well as being involved in cell motility and chemokine selection.

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Primary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology