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Marshall W. Nirenberg

Marshall W. NirenbergAKA Marshall Warren Nirenberg

Born: 10-Apr-1927
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 15-Jan-2010
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: RNA's role in protein synthesis

In the early 1960s, American biochemist Marshall Nirenberg's research provided the first breakthrough in breaking the genetic code, deciphering a portion of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which led to the code's unraveling by the mid-1960s. For this work, the effective basis for modern genetics, Nirenberg, H. Gobind Khorana, and Robert W. Holley shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1968.

In recent years he has been an outspoken advocate for embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning, and against chemical and nuclear weaponry. His wife, Perola Zaltzman, was a biochemist at the National Institutes of Health.

Father: Harry Edward Nirenberg (shirtmaker)
Mother: Minerva Bykowsky
Sister: Joan N. Geiger
Wife: Perola Zaltzman-Nirenberg (chemist, m. Jul-1961, d. 2001)
Wife: Myrna M. Weissman (m. 23-Dec-2005)
Son: Jonathan Weissman (stepson)
Daughter: Judith Weissman (stepdaughter)
Daughter: Sharon Weissman (stepdaughter)
Daughter: Susan Weissman (stepdaughter)

    University: BS Zoology and Chemistry, University of Florida (1948)
    University: MS Zoology, University of Florida (1952)
    University: PhD Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan (1957)
    Scholar: Biochemistry, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (1957-66)
    Administrator: Director of Biochemical Genetics, National Institutes of Health (1966-)

    National Medal of Science 1965
    Priestley Medal 1968
    Lasker Award 1968, with H. Gobind Khorana
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1968 (with H. Gobind Khorana and Robert W. Holley)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Cancer Society Fellowship (1957-59)
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    National Academy of Sciences
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
The genetic code II (1963)


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