About this Collection
Daniel Nathans (1928-1999) was an American molecular biologist whose pioneering work with restriction enzymes provided one of the cornerstones of "the new genetics." His early research advanced scientific understanding of protein synthesis in bacterial viruses. Later, working with tumor viruses, he was the first to demonstrate how recently-discovered restriction enzymes--which recognized specific DNA sequences and cut DNA at those points--could be used to analyze and map a viral genome. Restriction enzymes rapidly became essential tools of molecular biology, enabling much faster gene sequencing and mapping, as well as recombinant DNA technology. Nathans received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work.
The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions is the repository for the Daniel Nathans Papers, which range from 1951 to 1999. The collection contains correspondence, laboratory notebooks, photographs, reprints, and reports.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online, in collaboration with the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a digitized selection of the Daniel Nathans Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Daniel Nathans Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Daniel Nathans Papers should contact the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.
This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Nathans's scientific career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Nathans's life and major scientific contributions.
Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.