Richard Young is a Professor of Biology at MIT and a Member of the Whitehead Institute. He is a molecular biologist recognized for his work on gene regulation in health and disease. He is known particularly for development of genome analysis technologies and their use to identify the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that produce normal cell states and that become dysregulated in disease. Young grew up in Pittsburgh and in Spain and Switzerland, graduated from Indiana University with a degree in biology and received a doctorate from Yale University in 1979. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University before joining MIT and Whitehead Institute in 1983. Young has served as an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization and in 2006 Scientific American recognized him as one of the top 50 leaders in science, technology and business. He has mentored over 100 predoctoral students and postdoctoral researchers who now contribute to academic and commercial biomedical research throughout the world.

Research Interests

The Young laboratory studies the transcriptional and epigenetic control of gene expression in mammalian cells. We have pioneered key genomics technologies and introduced new concepts in gene control. The molecular apparatuses and mechanisms that control gene expression programs in early development and in cancer are of particular interest. An emphasis on multidisciplinary research and collaboration among biologists, computer scientists, chemists and physicists has been central to the culture in my laboratory. Insights from our studies have improved our understanding of cellular regulation in human health and disease and lay the foundation for development of therapeutics that target specific gene regulatory pathways in disease.

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Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology