Professor Vamsi Mootha was born in Kakinada in India in 1971. He completed his high school education at Kelly High School in Beaumont, Texas in 1989, received his B.S. (Honors, with Distinction) in Mathematical and Computational Science at Stanford University in 1993, and M.D. (cum laude) from Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School in 1998, his thesis being focused on mitochondrial energetics. Thereafter, he completed three years Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA (1998 to 2001), followed by another three years Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2001-2004) at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at Cambridge, MA, during which he worked on regulatory control in mitochondrial energetics. He is currently Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Senior Research Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA.
Professor Mootha and his team combine the tools of genomics with rigorous computation and biochemical physiology to explore mitochondrial function in health and disease. His major research accomplishments include characterization of the mitochondrial proteome, discovery of more than 15 novel mitochondrial disease genes by integrative genomics and use of targeted exome sequencing for clinical diagnostics. He also discovered the molecular machinery of mitochondrial calcium uniporter and showed that a subtle decline in mitochondrial gene expression underlies type 2 Diabetes and that the mitochondrial one-carbon pathway is altered in many diseases.
Professor Mootha’s talent and outstanding contributions have been recognized by several honors including: the Grand Award Winner of the 40th International Science and Engineering Fair (1989), Stanford University David Starr Jordan Scholarship (1990), HHMI Post-doctoral Fellowship for Physicians (2001), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2004), NIH Wednesday Lectureship (2006), Judson Daland Prize of the American Philosophical Society (2008), MGH Martin Prize for Basic Research (2011), Transformative Research Project Award from the National Institutes of Health (2011), Keilin Medal of the Biochemical Society (2014) and the prestigious Padma Shri Prize of the Government of India (2014). He was elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2014) and is also an elected member of the Association of American Physicians.
Professor Mootha serves as editorial board member of “Molecular Systems Biology”, “Cell Metabolism” and “European Molecular Biology Organization Journal” as well as ad hoc reviewer for many prestigious journals such as Science, Nature, Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, Genomic Research and others. Besides, he holds several other responsibilities as member of scientific advisory boards, grant reviewer and chairman, co-chairman or organizer of national and international symposia.
Professor Vamsi K. Mootha, has been awarded the prize, because he has used the mitochondrion (the cellular power plant) as a model to identify the link between pivotal molecular factors involved in mitochondrial dysfunction and major human diseases such as diabetes and other metabolic disorders. His contribution provides a framework for novel diagnostic and therapeutic applications.