2018 Harrington Prize Recipient
Helen H. Hobbs, M.D., is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Dr. Hobbs graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1979. After completing an internship in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, she moved to Dallas, Texas where she finished her clinical training and served as chief resident in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein. Through her work researching lipoproteins in the Brown and Goldstein lab, Dr. Hobbs developed a passion for genetics.
Dr. Hobbs joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 1987. She co-founded the Dallas Heart Study, a multi-ethnic, population-based study that gathered genetic information and physical characteristics on several thousand individuals. This fruitful data set has served as the foundation for most of the work she and lab partner Dr. Jonathan Cohen have done on the genetic underpinnings of metabolic and heart diseases. Her discovery that individuals with mutations in the PCSK9 gene not only have low blood cholesterol levels but also are protected from heart disease led to the rapid development of new therapies to lower plasma cholesterol levels. Her work is also noteworthy for her focus on rare mutations rather than common alleles, an approach that has since become standard methodology among genetic researchers.
An Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dr. Hobbs has received numerous awards including the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the 2015 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, the 2016 Passano Award.