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Daniel Nathans

Daniel NathansBorn: 30-Oct-1928
Birthplace: Wilmington, DE
Died: 16-Nov-1999
Location of death: Baltimore, MD
Cause of death: Cancer - Leukemia

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Restriction enzymes (DNA cleavage)

Sometimes called the father of modern biotechnology, Daniel Nathans proved that Werner Arber's theoretical restriction enzymes exist, and then used these biological oddities to separate DNA into its component parts. Nathans was able to break SV40 DNA, a virus that causes cancer among monkeys, into eleven well-defined fragments, which allowed him to map the SV40 genes. This led to such breakthroughs as synthetic insulin and manufactured growth hormones, and allowed the eventual mapping of the human genome. Nathans won the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1978, sharing the honor with Arber and with Nathans' colleague at Johns Hopkins, Hamilton O. Smith.

Early in his career, Nathans worked at Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Fritz Lipmann. After Nathans' death in 1999, the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins was named in his honor, and for geneticist Victor A. McKusick.

Father: Samuel Nathans
Mother: Sarah Levitan Nathans (m. 1910)
Wife: Joanne Gomberg Nathans
Son: Eli Nathans (historian)
Son: Benjamin Nations (historian)

    University: BS Chemistry, University of Delaware
    Medical School: MD, Washington University in St. Louis (1954)
    Scholar: Medicine, Columbia University (1954-56)
    Scholar: National Institutes of Health (1956-59)
    Teacher: Biochemistry, Rockefeller University (1959-)
    Professor: Microbiology, Johns Hopkins University (1962-99)
    Scholar: Weizmann Institute of Science (1969-70)
    Administrator: President, Johns Hopkins University (1994-95)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1978 (with Werner Arber and Hamilton O. Smith)
    National Medal of Science 1993
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Jewish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry


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