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David Baltimore

David BaltimoreAKA David L. Baltimore

Born: 7-Mar-1938
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discoverer, reverse transcriptase

American virologist David Baltimore won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1975, for work done five years earlier with his wife, virologist Alice Huang. They discovered reverse transcriptase, a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerase enzyme that transcribes single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) into double-stranded DNA. Also known as RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, their discovery showed that the DNA's genetic information, which ordinarily travels from DNA to RNA, can also travel in the other direction, allowing viruses to replicate the RNA into the DNA of otherwise healthy calls, which can cause some forms of cancer. In 1981, working with Vincent Racaniello, Baltimore generated a plasmid encoding the polio virus genome, using recombinant DNA technology.

His reputation was somewhat but unfairly tarnished in 1989, when immunologist Thereza Imanishi-Kari was alleged to have falsified data in a 1986 paper, co-authored by Baltimore, which had yielded unexpected results which another scientist was unable to replicate. The claims of dishonesty against Imanishi-Kari and, by association, Baltimore, were aired prominently in the American media and became fodder in Congress for politicians who oppose funding scientific research. Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari withdrew the paper they had written together, Baltimore resigned as President of Rockefeller University, and the government's Office of Research Integrity concluded in 1991 that Imanishi-Kari had falsified data. In 1996, however, an appeals board at the Department of Health and Human Services re-opened the matter, found no credible grounds to prove any wrongdoing, and concluded that the Office of Research Integrity had bungled its initial investigation.

Father: Richard Baltimore
Mother: Gertrude Lipschitz
Wife: Alice S. Huang (scientist, m. 5-Oct-1968, one daughter)
Daughter: Teak Baltimore

    High School: North High School, Great Neck, NY (1956)
    Scholar: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1958-59)
    University: BS Chemistry, Swarthmore College (1960)
    Scholar: Biophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1960-61)
    University: PhD, Rockefeller University (1964)
    Fellow: Yeshiva University (1964-65)
    Teacher: Microbiology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1968-72)
    Professor: Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1972-90)
    Scholar: MIT Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1974-90)
    Administrator: President, Rockefeller University (1990-91)
    Professor: Biology, Rockefeller University (1990-94)
    Professor: Molecular Biology and Immunology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1994-97)
    Professor: Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1995-97)
    Professor: Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology (1997-)
    Administrator: President, California Institute of Technology (1997-2006)

    Gustave Stern Award in Virology 1970
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1975 (with Renato Dulbecco and Howard M. Temin)
    National Medal of Science 1999
    Warren Alpert Foundation Prize 2000
    AMA Scientific Achievement Award 2002
    Member of the Board of Amgen (1999-)
    Member of the Board of BB Biotech AG
    Member of the Board of Cellerant
    Member of the Board of MedImmune (2003-)
    Member of the Board of Scriptgen Pharmaceuticals
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Microbiology
    American Association for the Advancement of Science President, 2006-09
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    Council on Competitiveness Executive Committee
    Council on Foreign Relations
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    Hillary Clinton for President
    Institute of Medicine
    Japanese Biochemical Society Foreign Member
    John Kerry for President
    National Academy of Sciences 1974
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Research!America Scientific Advisory Committee
    Royal Society
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies 1965-68
    Science Debate 2008
    National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee


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