Richard Lifton is Chair of the Department of Genetics, Sterling Professor of Genetics and Internal Medicine, Executive Director of the Yale Center for Genome Analysis and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, then received MD and PhD degrees (in Biochemistry) from Stanford University. He completed clinical training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, served as Chief Medical Resident there and continued on the faculty at Harvard Medical School before being recruited to Yale in 1993.
Dr. Lifton has used human genetics and genomics to identify mutations that identify key pathways underlying common diseases including hypertension, myocardial infarction, osteoporosis, cerebral hemorrhage, congenital heart disease and neoplasia. In the particular case of hypertension, which affects more than a billion people worldwide, these studies have led to recognition of the key roles of renal salt and potassium handling in blood pressure regulation and have led to new therapeutic approaches to treatment and prevention strategies that have been applied to the general population. In 2009 his group developed exome sequencing on the Nimblegen platform and performed the first clinical diagnosis by genome-level sequencing.
He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the Governing Council of the National Academy of Sciences, as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Massachusetts General Hospital, on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Whitehead Institute of MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and on the Board of Directors of Roche. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Planning Committee for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
He has received the highest scientific awards of the American Heart Association, the American Society of Nephrology, the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the American Society of Hypertension, the International Society of Hypertension, and the International Society of Nephrology. He received the 2008 Wiley Prize for Biomedical Sciences and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.