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Walter Gilbert

Walter GilbertBorn: 21-Mar-1932
Birthplace: Boston, MA

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Sequencing techniques for DNA

American biochemist Walter Gilbert studied under Abdus Salam, and is best known for his development of techniques to determine the sequence of bases in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). In 1966, working with Benno Muller-Hill (b. 1933), Gilbert designed a new procedure called equilibrium dialysis, to determine the degree of ion bonding by protein. In 1976, working with Allan Maxam (b. 1942), he developed a DNA sequencing method, based on chemical modifications of DNA and followed by its subsequent cleavage at specific bases. In 1977 he proposed a theory of exon shuffling, in which different exons are sometimes mixed, either within a gene or between two nonallelic genes. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1980, sharing the honor with Paul Berg and Frederick Sanger.

Father: Richard V. Gilbert (economist)
Mother: Emma Cohen (child psychologist)
Wife: Celia Stone (poet, m. 1953, one son, one daughter)
Son: John Richard
Daughter: Kate

    High School: Sidwell Friends School, Washington, DC (1949)
    University: BS Physics, Harvard University (1953)
    Scholar: Physics, Harvard University (1953-54)
    University: PhD Mathematics, Cambridge University (1957)
    Lecturer: Physics, Harvard University (1957-59)
    Teacher: Theoretical Physics, Harvard University (1959-60)
    Teacher: Molecular Biology, Harvard University (1960-64)
    Professor: Molecular Biology, Harvard University (1968-74)
    Administrator: ACS Professor of Molecular Biology, Harvard University (1974-82)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Harvard University (1985-)
    Administrator: Chair, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University (1987-)
    Administrator: Board of Scientific Governors, Scripps Research Institute

    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize 1979 (with Frederick Sanger)
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1980 (with Paul Berg and Frederick Sanger)
    Biogen Founder and CEO (1979-84)
    American Cancer Society
    Dean for America
    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    Democratic National Committee
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    EMILY's List
    Harvard Society of Fellows Chairman
    John Edwards for President
    Kerry Victory 2004
    Kucinich for President
    MoveOn.org
    New Leadership for America PAC
    Obama for America
    Jewish Ancestry


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