Paul Lawrence Modrich (born June 13, 1946) is an American biochemist, James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is known for his research on DNA mismatch repair. Modrich received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015, jointly with Aziz Sancar and Tomas Lindahl.
Paul Lawrence Modrich
June 13, 1946
Raton, New Mexico, U.S.
Stanford University (PhD)
|Known for||Clarification of cellular resistance to carcinogens|
|Fields||DNA mismatch repair|
|Thesis||Structure, mechanism and biological role of E. coli DNA ligase (1973)|
|Doctoral advisor||Robert Lehman|
Modrich was born on June 13, 1946, in Raton, New Mexico to Laurence Modrich and Margaret McTurk. He has a younger brother Dave. His father was a biology teacher and coach for basketball, football and tennis at Raton High School where he graduated in 1964. Modrich is of Croatian, Montenegrin, German and Scotch-Irish descent. His paternal grandfather, of Croatian descent, is probably from the small village of Modrići near Zadar, and grandmother of Montenegrin descent, both immigrated to the United States from coastal Croatia in the late 19th century. His maternal family is of mixed German and Scotch-Irish descent. Modrich married fellow scientist Vickers Burdett in 1980.
Modrich obtained a B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and subsequently a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 1973. He continued his research as a postdoc in the lab of Charles C. Richardson at Harvard Medical School for a year (1973–1974).
Modrich became an assistant professor at the chemistry department of University of California, Berkeley in 1974. He joined Duke University's faculty in 1976 and has been a Howard Hughes Investigator since 1995. He works primarily on strand-directed mismatch repair. His lab demonstrated how DNA mismatch repair serves as a copyeditor to prevent errors from DNA polymerase. Matthew Meselson previously proposed the existence of recognition of mismatches. Modrich performed biochemical experiments to study mismatch repair in E. coli. They later searched for proteins associated with mismatch repair in humans.
Honors and awards received by Modrich include:
...my wife and I, we visited the village yesterday where my grandparent, grandfather may have been born, Modrići, I believe it is called