Michael Rosbash


Michael Rosbash

© Nobel Media AB. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Michael Rosbash
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017

Born: 7 March 1944, Kansas City, MO, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”

Prize share: 1/3


Michael Rosbash was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were of Jewish descent and had fled from Nazi Germany in 1938. He studied at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and at Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris and then obtained a doctor’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. After spending three years at the University of Edinburgh in United Kingdom, he began work in 1974 at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Michael Rosbash is married and has a stepdaughter and a daughter.


In our cells an internal clock helps us to adapt our biological rhythm to the different phases of day and night. Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young studied fruit flies to figure out how this clock works. In 1984 they managed to identify a gene that encodes a protein that accumulates during the night but is degraded during the day. They also identified additional proteins that form part of a self-regulating biological clockwork in the fruit fly's cells. The same principles have been shown to apply to other animals and plants.

To cite this section
MLA style: Michael Rosbash – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Tue. 23 Jul 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2017/rosbash/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.