Lifton is the 11th president of the Rockefeller University, where he also heads the Laboratory of Human Genetics and Genomics. He pioneered the use of genetics and genomics to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying human diseases. He is well-known for his discovery that mutations that increase salt reabsorption by the kidney cause hypertension, work that has informed public health efforts and therapeutic strategies used worldwide to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Lifton is also known for his development of exome sequencing for clinical diagnosis and disease gene discovery. He graduated from Dartmouth College and obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Before joining the Rockefeller University, he was chair of the Department of Genetics at Yale University, where he founded the Yale Center for Genome Analysis. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine and serves on the advisory committee to the NIH director and the scientific advisory board of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. He also serves on the board of directors of Genentech and Roche. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.