Stephen J. Elledge

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

For elucidating how eukaryotic cells sense and respond to damage in their DNA and providing insights into the development and treatment of cancer.


I am thankful for the superb education I obtained at the University of Illinois and MIT and all of my wonderful teachers and mentors. I thank the many researchers who have graced my lab, in particular Zheng Zhou, Jim Allen, Brian Desany, Hong Wang, Mingxia Wang, Yoli Sanchez, Dave Cortez, Shuhei Matsuoka, Bin Wang, Lee Zou, and Agata Smogorzewska who made many important contributions to elucidation of the DNA Damage Response. I am grateful to Wade Harper for his scientific collaboration and friendship. I thank my parents and grandmother for their support and Casey Lamb, Dave Wishart, Bruce and Mary Helen Baber, Mark Adams and Richard Tatara who provided intellectualism and great friendship in my early years. I want to especially thank my wife Mitzi and children Daniel and Susanna for providing a loving home, support and much understanding for the time my passion for science has consumed. This prize is not just a recognition of my lab, but also a celebration of science itself. It is important for our society to promote the culture of science and celebrate its values: the values of reasoning, openness, tolerance, and respect for evidence. The Breakthrough Prize is promoting the values of science and helping drive home the importance of science to the entire world.

Stephen J. Elledge

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks