Brandeis Honors Geneticist Alt '71

In April, Brandeis will present Harvard Medical School geneticist Frederick Alt ’71 with the 44th Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Biomedical Science. Alt is being honored for his pioneering research into the mechanisms of genomic instability and its implications for the immune system and cancer cells.

Alt studies the mechanisms by which particular gene regions are activated for rearrangement and the way in which distant broken DNA segments are joined together, both in healthy immune systems and deadly cancer cells. Over four decades, his research has expanded understanding of how genomic instability can lead to tumors and lymphomas.  

“Fred Alt is one of the most inventive and perceptive scientists I know,” says James Haber, director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis. “His work has provided a framework on which many others have built.”

Alt is the second alumnus to win the Rosenstiel Award. The first, Rod MacKinnon ’78, won the Rosenstiel in 1999 and the Nobel Prize in 2003.