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Herbert W. Boyer

AKA Herbert Wayne Boyer

Born: 10-Jul-1936
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Recombinant DNA, first synthetic insulin

Herbert Boyer, working with Stanford biochemist Stanley N. Cohen, devised a way to cut and paste genes from two bacteria, and then introduce this spliced gene into a third bacteria, which, when the procedure is performed successfully, can then be replicated infinitely. The work of Boyer and Cohen, first published in 1973, launched the modern concept of genetic engineering and led to the new business of biotechnology. With venture capitalist Robert Swanson (1947-1999), Boyer founded Genentech in 1976, and the company has used recombinant DNA technology to economically manufacture the diabetes drug insulin, the anti-viral protein interferon, and the growth hormone-inhibiting hormone somatostatin, among other products.

Wife: Grace (m. 1959)

    High School: Derry Area High School, Derry, PA (1954)
    University: BS Biology, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe (1958)
    University: MS Biology, University of Pittsburgh (1960)
    University: PhD Bacteriology, University of Pittsburgh (1963)
    Scholar: Protein Chemistry, Yale University (1963-66)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Microbiology, University of California at San Francisco (1966-75)
    Professor: Microbiology, University of California at San Francisco (1975-76)
    Professor: Biochemistry, University of California at San Francisco (1976-91)
    Administrator: Benefactor, Yale School of Medicine ($10M donation, 1990)
    Administrator: Trustee, Scripps Research Institute (1999-2006)

    Genentech VP (1976-91)
    Genentech Co-Founder
    Member of the Board of Allergan (1994-, as Chairman, 1998-2001)
    Member of the Board of Genentech (1976-2009)
    Roche Institute V.D. Mattia Award (1977, with Stanley N. Cohen)
    Lasker Award (1980)
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation (1989)
    National Medal of Science (1990)
    AGU Robert E Horton Medal (1993, with Cohen)
    Lemelson-MIT Prize (1996, with Cohen)
    Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine (2004, with Cohen)
    SCI Sir William H. Perkin Medal (2007)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (1988)
    Academy of Achievement (1981)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1979)
    American Society for Microbiology
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (1976-83)
    National Academy of Sciences (1985)
    Society of Chemical Industry

    Something Ventured (24-Apr-2011) · Himself

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