Michael Hall

Michael Hall earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics from Harvard University in 1981. Hall was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and at the University of California, San Francisco. He was appointed an Assistant Professor at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in 1987, and became a Full Professor in 1992. From 1995 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2009 he was head of the Division of Biochemistry, and from 2002 until 2009 was Deputy Director of the Biozentrum.

Hall is a pioneer in the fields of TOR signaling and cell growth control. In 1991, Michael N. Hall discovered a protein, which regulates cell growth, cell size and cell division in yeast cells. Since the function of this protein is inhibited by the substance rapamycin, Hall gave the growth regulator the name «Target of Rapamycin» or for short «TOR». TOR is a conserved protein kinase activated by growth factors, nutrients, and insulin. It is a central controller of cell growth and metabolism. TOR plays a key role in aging and the development of diseases such as cancer, obesity, Diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. Insights into TOR signaling pathways have been applied for new therapeutic strategies. Hall received the 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.