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Martin Chalfie

AKA Martin Lee Chalfie

Born: 1947
Birthplace: Chicago, IL

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Green Fluorescent Protein

Between earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harvard, Martin Chalfie worked as a dress salesman and high school teacher, having decided he was not suited for a career in science. In his first academic post, a summer position in a lab at Yale, he strayed from his assigned task but found a noteworthy result using an alternate means to measure chloride transport in the cornea of frogs. He is best known for his work with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which has enabled scientists to better understand how organs function, how disease is spread, and how infected cells respond to treatment.

He was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the honor with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien. Chalfie slept through the early-morning notification call from the Nobel Committee, and discovered he had won the highest honor in science when he visited the Nobel website, he said, "to find out what schmuck won this year" and found his own name on the website's front page. Chalfie's wife, geneticist Tulle Hazelrigg, completed the the first successful GFP fusions.

Wife: Tulle Hazelrigg (genetecist)

    University: BS Biochemistry, Harvard University
    Teacher: Hamden Hall Country Day School, Hamden, CT (1970-71)
    Scholar: PhD Physiology, Harvard University (1977)
    Teacher: Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England (1977-82)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Columbia University (1982-)

    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2008 (with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien)
    National Academy of Sciences 2004

Author of books:
Green Fluorescent Protein: Properties, Applications, and Protocols (1998, with Steven Kain)


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