Michael W. Young, Ph.D.

Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor,
Head of Laboratory of Genetics, and
Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Rockefeller University

B.A. (1971) – The University of Texas
Ph.D. (1975) – The University of Texas


Michael Young is Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Genetics at The Rockefeller University. He is also the University's Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Young received a B.A. in biology in 1971 and a Ph.D. in genetics in 1975, both from The University of Texas, Austin. He moved to Rockefeller in 1978, following postdoctoral work in the Department of Biochemistry, Standford University School of Medicine. In the late 1970's, Young began to use the fruit fly, Drosophila, to explore the molecular bases of circadian (daily) rhythms. Molecular and genetic screens in his laboratory identified certain genes that are involved in the formation of a biochemical oscillator with a periodicity close to 24 hours. Circadian clocks emerge within most tissues at the level of single cells, and genes discovered by Young and his colleagues in Drosophila have been casually linked to several human sleeping disorders.

Young's elected memberships include the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Physiological Society, London (Honorary). Along with colleagues Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, he received the 2009 Gruber Neuroscience Prize, 2011 Horwitz Prize, 2012 Canada Gairdner International Award, 2012 Massry Prize, 2013 Wiley Prize, 2013 Shaw Prize and the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries of molecular mechanisms that control circadian rhythms.