Members of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics focus on a wide variety of research projects, including gene expression and regulation, the cell cycle, signal transduction, developmental biology, microbial pathogenesis, immunology, DNA transposition, telomeres, RNA catalysis and the molecular biology of vision and olfaction. Many faculty members are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. Former department director Carol Greider received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of telomerase. Former faculty members Hamilton Smith and the late Daniel Nathans received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery and use of site-specific restriction enzymes. Faculty participate in eight School of Medicine graduate programs.