Leland H. Hartwell
1994 Common Wealth Award for Science and Invention
Leland H. Hartwell is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of yeastgenetics and cancer research. Hartwell is an American Cancer Society Professor and professor of genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle. "I was the only person looking at yeast cells [25 years ago] from the point of view of trying to find genes that control cell development," he said. "There was no guarantee that it would lead anywhere." Since then, his discoveries have profoundly affected the understanding of human cell growth and cancer. He and his colleagues are studying yeast cells to determine if lack of a cell's control over certain points in its division sequence may contribute to cancer. He also is examining the role of hormones in controlling cell growth. Hartwell earned his B.S. in 1961 from the California Institute of Technology, a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964, and then studied at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He joined the University of Washington faculty in 1968 and has served there as a professor of genetics since 1973.