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Biomedical Research

The needs of medicine have inspired much of the progress in the biological sciences during the twentieth century. In turn, many advances in pure science have quickly been harnessed toward understanding, preventing and treating human disease. Molecular biology, the understanding of how life works at the most basic level, has enabled researchers to learn about how organisms function and malfunction. The recent sequencing of the human genome is providing an explosion of new information, the impact of which is just beginning to be felt, but which is expected to revolutionize both scientific research and clinical practice.

Christian Boehmer Anfinsen, Jr. (1916-1995), was an American biochemist who shared the 1972 Nobel Prize for work that helped explain the structure and composition of proteins in living cells.
(Available November 2000; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Oswald T. Avery (1877-1955) was one of this country's first molecular biologists, whose findings proved that the genetic material is DNA.
(Available September 1998; press release, updated August 1999, January 2000, November 2002, May 2005, August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Julius Axelrod (1912-2004) was an American pharmacologist and neuroscientist who shared the 1970 Nobel Prize for his discovery of the actions of neurotransmitters in regulating the metabolism of the nervous system.
(Available May 2000; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Paul Berg (b. 1926) is an American biochemist who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA."
(Available July 2008; announcement, updated January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Francis Crick (1916-2004) was a British theoretical biologist who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his "discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material."
(Available February 2005; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) was a British chemist and crystallographer best known for her role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Her x-ray diffraction photos of DNA and her analysis of that data provided Francis Crick and James Watson clues crucial to building their correct theoretical model of the molecule in 1953.
(Available February 2007; press release, updated May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Donald S. Fredrickson (1924-2002) was an American physiologist and biomedical research leader who made significant contributions to medicine over the course of four decades.
(Available October 2002; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Michael Heidelberger (1888-1991) was an American immunologist and the founder of immunochemistry. His work led to an expansion of the study of microorganisms, and laid a path for a new understanding of infectious diseases, their treatment, and their prevention. Heidelberger received the 1953 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the 1978 Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research.
(Available September 2006; announcement, updated December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Adrian Kantrowitz (1918-2008) is best known for performing the first human heart transplant in the United States. He was one of America's most prolific surgeon-inventors.
(Available July 2009; announcement, updated January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Arthur Kornberg (1918-2007) was an American biochemist who shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid."
(Available October 2007; press release, updated March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Joshua Lederberg (1925-2008) was an American geneticist and microbiologist who received the Nobel Prize in 1958 for "his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria."
(Available March 1999; press release, updated January 2000, June 2000, February 2001, September 2001, November 2001, June 2002, November 2002, June 2004, May 2005; announcement, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Salvador E. Luria (1912-1991) was an Italian-born bacteriologist who shared the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his "discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses."
(Available September 2005; press release, updated December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) was an American geneticist who won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome.
(Available October 2001; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Victor A. McKusick (1921-2008) was an innovative clinician, medical educator, and researcher. He was widely considered to be the founding father of medical genetics.
(Available January 2009; announcement, updated January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Daniel Nathans (1928-1999) was an American biochemist who shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics."
(Available January 2010; announcement, updated July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Marshall W. Nirenberg (1927-2010) is an American biochemist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on deciphering the genetic code.
(Available May 2001; press release, updated November 2002, August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Linus Pauling (1901-1994) was an American chemist who won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances." He also won the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize, making him the only person to win two unshared Nobel prizes.
(Available February 2002, updated June 2002, February 2003; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Martin Rodbell (1925-1998) was an American biochemist and molecular endocrinologist who shared the Nobel Prize in 1994 for his discovery of G-proteins and the principles of signal transduction in cellular communication.
(Available November 1999; press release, updated January 2000, August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Florence R. Sabin (1871-1953) was an American anatomist and medical researcher. She received a Lasker Award in 1951 for her work in public health.
(Available August 2003; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Maxine Singer (b. 1931) is an American molecular biologist who made important contributions to the deciphering of the genetic code. She also served as an effective champion of women in science, of improvements in science education, and of scientists who engage in public policy debates.
(Available December 2007; announcement, updated March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Louis Sokoloff (1921-2015) was an American physician and neuroscientist whose innovative research methods and tools transformed the study of brain structure and function. His research earned him the 1981 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for his unique contributions "to our basic knowledge and diagnosis of brain diseases--problems for which scientists have sought the answers for decades."
(Available September 2016; announcement, updated September 2017)

Sol Spiegelman (1914-1983) was an American molecular biologist whose discoveries laid the foundations of recombinant DNA technology. He received the 1974 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research "for his contributions to molecular biology including techniques of molecular hybridization and the first synthesis of an infectious nucleic acid."
(Available July 2007; press release, updated March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986) was a Hungarian-born biochemist who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "his discoveries concerning the biological combustion processes" with especial reference to vitamin C and to the fumaric acid catalyst.
(Available June 2005; press release, updated August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, December 2006, May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, February 2015, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)

Harold Varmus (b. 1939) is an American physician who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovery of "the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes." Varmus became the first Nobel laureate to head the National Institutes of Health.
(Available December 2006; press release, updated May 2007, March 2008, January 2010, July 2011, January 2012, February 2013, December 2013, September 2015, April 2016, September 2016, September 2017)