Michael Hall
  • 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award


American and Swiss molecular biologist and Professor at the University of Basel. In 2017, he won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, for “discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.”

Education and Work Experience

1981-1984, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry & Biophysics, UCSF
1992-Present, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Basel
1995-1998&2002-2008, Chairman, Division of Biochemistry, University of Basel
2002-2009&2013-2016, Vice-Director, Biozentrum, Division of Biochemistry, University of Basel

Honors and Awards

2014, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
2015, Canada Gairdner International Award
2017, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
2020, BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine

Major Academic Achievements

Dr Michael N. Hall is the pioneer in the field of cell growth. In the early 1990s, he discovered the protein Target of Rapamycin, TOR for short, at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Switzerland. By activation and inactivation of different signalling pathways, it controls cell growth and size. Uncontrolled cell growth plays a major role in the development of a number of illnesses. Dysregulation of the intricate TOR signalling network is involved in the development of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Over the years, Hall has continually added important pieces to the puzzle in understanding TOR. For instance, he demonstrated that TOR is found in two distinct protein complexes, which explained the different effects of TOR signalling in the cell. The work of Hall has led to a fundamental change in how one thinks of cell growth and has provided critical information for the development of anti-cancer drugs.