David Baltimore

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David Baltimore
Dr. David Baltimore2.jpg
David Baltimore in 2013
Born (1938-03-07) March 7, 1938 (age 77)
New York City, New York, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Biology
Alma mater
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Alice S. Huang (m. 1968; 1 child)
External video
Nobel Prize Interview with Dr. David Baltimore, 26 April 2001, Nobel Prize.org
David Baltimore: Danger from the Wild: HIV, Can We Conquer It?, iBiology

David Baltimore (born March 7, 1938) is an American biologist, university administrator, and 1975 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. He served as president of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 1997 to 2006, and is currently the President Emeritus and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. He also served as president of Rockefeller University from 1990 to 1991, and was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. Dr. Baltimore has profoundly influenced international science, including key contributions to immunology, virology, cancer research, biotechnology, and recombinant DNA research, through his accomplishments as a researcher, administrator, educator, and public advocate for science and engineering. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received a number of awards, including the U.S. National Medal of Science in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Baltimore in the 1970s

Baltimore was born on March 7, 1938 in New York City to Gertrude (Lipschitz) and Richard Baltimore. Raised in the Queens neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park, Queens, he moved with his family to suburban Great Neck, New York while he was in second grade because his mother felt that the city schools were inadequate. His father had been raised as an Orthodox Jew and his mother was an atheist, and Baltimore observed Jewish holidays and would attend synagogue with his father through his Bar Mitzvah.[1] He graduated from Great Neck High School in 1956, and credits his interest in biology to a high-school summer spent at the Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program in Bar Harbor, Maine.[2][3]


Doctoral & postdoctoral work[edit]

Baltimore earned a BA at Swarthmore College in 1960. Already interested in virology, he applied to Rockefeller University to work with Richard M. Franklin. His doctoral work involved the synthesis of RNA animal viruses. Baltimore was the first to report a virus coding for an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, as a result of his discovery that mengovirus-infected cells synthesized an enzyme that triggered the synthesis of viral RNA.[4] Baltimore received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in 1964.[5][6]

Baltimore held postdoctoral fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.[5] During this time he began working with poliovirus.

In 1965, he was offered a non-faculty research position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies by Renato Dulbecco. There he worked on the replication of poliovirus RNA, and on viral protein synthesis and the formation of poliovirus proteins with graduate student Michael F. Jacobson.[4] They discovered the mechanism of proteolytic cleavage of viral polyprotein precursors,[7] pointing to the importance of proteolytic processing in the synthesis of eukaryotic proteins.[4]

Massachusetts Institute of Technology[edit]

Baltimore joined the MIT faculty as an associate professor of microbiology in 1968.[5]

He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974.[8]

In 1975, at the age of 37, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco. The citation reads, "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell." At the time, Baltimore's greatest contribution to virology was his discovery of reverse transcriptase (RTase or RT). Reverse transcriptase is essential for the reproduction of retroviruses such as HIV and was also discovered independently, and at about the same time, by Mizutani and Temin.[9]

Also in 1975, Baltimore was an organizer of the Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA. In 1982, Baltimore was appointed the founding director of MIT's Whitehead Institute,[10][11] where he remained through June 1990.

In 1981, Baltimore and Vincent Racaniello, a post-doctoral fellow in his laboratory, used recombinant DNA technology to generate a plasmid encoding the genome of poliovirus, an animal RNA virus. The plasmid DNA was introduced into cultured mammalian cells and infectious poliovirus was produced.[12] The infectious clone, DNA encoding the genome of a virus, is a standard tool used today in virology. Other important breakthroughs from Baltimore's lab include the discovery of the transcription factor NF-κB and the recombination activating genes RAG-1 and RAG-2.

Rockefeller University[edit]

Baltimore became president of Rockefeller University in New York City on July 1, 1990. After resigning on December 3, 1991, (see Imanishi-Kari case) Baltimore remained on the Rockefeller University faculty and continued research until spring of 1994. He then rejoined the MIT faculty.

California Institute of Technology[edit]

From left: JPL Director Charles Elachi, La Canada-Flintridge Mayor Greg Brown, Baltimore and JPL Deputy Director Eugene Tattini (2006).

On May 13, 1997, Baltimore was appointed president of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).[13][14][15][16][17] He began serving in the office 15 October 1997 and was inaugurated 9 March 1998.[18]

During Baltimore's tenure at Caltech, United States President Bill Clinton awarded Baltimore the National Medal of Science in 1999 for his numerous contributions to the scientific world. In 2004, Rockefeller University gave Baltimore its highest honor, Doctor of Science (honoris causa).[19]

In October 2005, Baltimore resigned the office of the president at Caltech[20] (see Luk van Parijs case). Former Georgia Tech Provost Jean-Lou Chameau succeeded Baltimore as president of Caltech.[21] Baltimore remains the Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech and is an active member of the Institute's community.

Public policy[edit]

Baltimore has influenced national policy concerning recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He has trained many doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, several of whom have gone on to notable and distinguished research careers. Baltimore is a member of The Jackson Laboratory's Board of Trustees, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Board of Sponsors, the National Academy of Sciences USA (NAS), the NAS Institute of Medicine (IOM), Amgen, Inc. Board of Directors, the BB Biotech AG Board of Directors, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Vaccine Research Committee (AVRC), and numerous other organizations and their boards.

Baltimore is a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board[22] and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences


Imanishi-Kari case[edit]

Main article: Thereza Imanishi-Kari

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Thereza Imanishi-Kari, a scientist who was not in Baltimore's laboratory but in a separate, independent laboratory at MIT, was implicated in a case of scientific fraud. The case received extensive news coverage and a Congressional investigation. The case was linked to Baltimore's name because of his scientific collaboration with and later his strong defense of Imanishi-Kari against accusations of fraud.

In 1986, while a Professor of Biology at MIT and Director at Whitehead, Baltimore co-authored a scientific paper on immunology with Thereza Imanishi-Kari (an Assistant Professor of Biology who had her own laboratory at MIT) as well as four others.[23] A postdoctoral fellow in Imanishi-Kari's laboratory, Margot O'Toole, who was not an author, reported concerns about the paper, ultimately accusing Imanishi-Kari of fabricating data in a cover-up. Baltimore, however, refused to retract the paper.

O'Toole soon dropped her challenge, but the NIH, which had funded the contested paper's research, began investigating, thanks to the insistence of Walter W. Stewart, a self-appointed fraud buster, and Ned Feder, his lab head at the NIH.[24] Representative John Dingell (D-MI) also aggressively pursued it, eventually calling in U.S. Secret Service (USSS; U.S. Treasury) document examiners.[25]

Around October 1989, when Baltimore was appointed president of Rockefeller University, around a third of the faculty opposed his appointment because of concerns about his behaviour in the Imanishi-Kari case. He had to visit every laboratory, one by one, to hear those concerns directly from each group of researchers.[24]

In a draft report dated March 14, 1991 and based mainly on USSS forensics findings, NIH's fraud unit, then called the Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI), accused Imanishi-Kari of falsifying and fabricating data. It also criticized Baltimore for failing to embrace O'Toole's challenge.[citation needed] Less than a week later, the report was leaked to the press.[26] Baltimore and three co-authors then retracted the paper; Imanishi-Kari and Moema H. Reis did not sign the retraction.[27] In the report, Baltimore admitted that he was "too willing to accept" Imanishi-Kari's explanations, and felt he "did too little to seek an independent verification of her data and conclusions."[28] Baltimore publicly apologized for not taking a whistle-blower's charge seriously.[29]

Amid concerns raised by negative publicity in connection with the scandal, Baltimore resigned as president of Rockefeller University[30] and rejoined the MIT Biology faculty.[31]

In July 1992, the US Attorney for the District of MD, who had been investigating the case, announced he would bring neither criminal nor civil charges against Imanishi-Kari.[32][33] In October 1994, however, OSI's successor, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI; HHS) found Imanishi-Kari guilty on 19 counts of research misconduct, basing its conclusions largely on Secret Service analysis of laboratory notebooks.

An HHS appeals panel began meeting in June 1995 to review all charges in detail. In June 1996, the panel ruled that the ORI had failed to prove even one of its 19 charges. After throwing out much of the documentary evidence gathered by the ORI, the panel dismissed all charges against Imanishi-Kari. As their final report stated, the HHS panel "found that much of what ORI presented was irrelevant, had limited probative value, was internally inconsistent, lacked reliability or foundation, was not credible or not corroborated, or was based on unwarranted assumptions." It did conclude that "The Cell paper as a whole is rife with errors of all sorts ... [including] some which, despite all these years and layers of review, have never previously been pointed out or corrected. Responsibility ... must be shared by all participants." Neither OSI nor ORI ever accused Baltimore of research misconduct.[34][35] The reputations of Stewart and Feder, who had pushed for the investigation, were very damaged.[35]

Baltimore has been both defended and criticized for his actions in this matter.[36][37][38][39][40][41][42] In 1993, Yale University mathematician Serge Lang strongly criticized Baltimore's behavior.[43] Historian of science Daniel Kevles, writing after the exoneration of Imanishi-Kari, recounted the affair in his 1998 book, The Baltimore Case.[44][45] Horace Freeland Judson also gives a critical assessment of Baltimore's actions in The Great Betrayal: Fraud In Science.[46] Baltimore has also written his own analysis.[47]

Luk van Parijs case[edit]

In October 2005, Baltimore resigned the office of the president of Caltech,[20] saying, "This is not a decision that I have made easily, but I am convinced that the interests of the Institute will be best served by a presidential transition at this particular time in its history..."[48] Soon after, at Baltimore's request, Caltech began investigating the work Luk van Parijs had conducted while a postdoc in Baltimore's laboratory.[49] Van Parijs first came under suspicion at MIT, for work done after he had left Baltimore's lab. After van Parijs had been fired by MIT, his doctoral supervisor also noted problems with work van Parijs did at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, before leaving Harvard to go to Baltimore's lab.[50] Concluding in March 2007, the Caltech investigation found van Parijs alone committed research misconduct and that four papers co-authored by Baltimore, van Parijs, and others required correction.[51]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Baltimore was married in 1968 to Dr. Alice S. Huang. They have one daughter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Baltimore - Interviewed by Sara Lippincott; October - November 2009, California Institute of Technology. Accessed February 21, 2013. "But she was also committed to her family and to my father's right to have his religion, and we celebrated the major holidays, we fasted on Yom Kippur, and I walked with my father to the shul, which was a long walk from where we lived."
  2. ^ Nobel Prize autobiography. Nobelprize.org (1938-03-07). Retrieved on 2012-02-17.
  3. ^ Kerr, Kathleen. "They Began Here", Newsday. Accessed 23 Oct 2007. "David Baltimore, 1975 Nobel laureate and one of the nation's best-known scientists, is a good case in point. The 60-year-old Baltimore, who graduated from Great Neck High School in 1956..."
  4. ^ a b c Schlesinger, Sondra (7 February 1994). "Interview with David Baltimore". Center for Oral History. Chemical Heritage Foundation. 
  5. ^ a b c Jaques Cattell Press, ed. (1986). American men & women of science: physical and biological sciences (16 ed.). New York: R. R. Bowker Company. p. 276. 
  6. ^ "David Baltimore". NNDB Tracking the entire world. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Budisa, Nediljko (2005). Engineering the genetic code expanding the amino acid repertoire for the design of novel proteins. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH-Verl. p. 23. ISBN 978-3-527-31243-6. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Judson, Horace F (2003-10-20). "No Nobel Prize for Whining". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  10. ^ Latt, S. A.; Goff, S. P.; Tabin, C. J.; Paskind, M; Wang, J. Y.; Baltimore, D (1983). "Cloning and analysis of reverse transcript P160 genomes of Abelson murine leukemia virus". Journal of virology 45 (3): 1195–9. PMC 256533. PMID 6300457. 
  11. ^ Goff, S. P.; Tabin, C. J.; Wang, J. Y.; Weinberg, R; Baltimore, D (1982). "Transfection of fibroblasts by cloned Abelson murine leukemia virus DNA and recovery of transmissible virus by recombination with helper virus". Journal of virology 41 (1): 271–85. PMC 256749. PMID 6283119. 
  12. ^ Racaniello V, Baltimore D (1981). "Cloned poliovirus complemenatry DNA is infectious in mammalian cells". Science 214 (453): 916–919. Bibcode:1981Sci...214..916R. doi:10.1126/science.6272391. PMID 6272391. 
  13. ^ Perry, Jill (May 13, 1997). "Nobel Prize-winning Biologist David Baltimore Named President of the California Institute of Technology". Caltech Media Relations. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Richard Saltus, "MIT Laureate to Lead Caltech: Baltimore Weathered Data Dispute", Boston Globe, 14 May 1997, p. A3
  15. ^ Robert Lee Hotz, "Prominent Biology Nobelist Chosen to Head Caltech; Controversial and outspoken scientist David Baltimore says his appointment reflects school's desire for bigger role in nation's scientific debates." Los Angeles Times, 14 May 1997, pp. A1, 22, 23
  16. ^ "A Luminary of Science for Caltech's Presidency; Nobelist Baltimore has the needed background and clout." LA Times, 15 May 1997, p. B8
  17. ^ R.L. Hotz, "Biomedicine's Bionic Man". LA Times Magazine, 28 September 1997, pp. 10–13, 34–5
  18. ^ Caltech Media Relations, "New Caltech President To Be Honored with Formal Inauguration, Birthday Festschrift," 23 February 1998
  19. ^ Bhattacharjee, Y. (25 June 2004). "The Balance of Justice". Science 304 (5679): 1901. doi:10.1126/science.304.5679.1901a. 
  20. ^ a b Hotz, Robert Lee (October 4, 2005). "Caltech President Who Raised School's Profile to Step Down". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  21. ^ Perry, Jill (30 April 2007). "Caltech Presidential Inauguration — A Student Affair". Caltech Media Relations. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  22. ^ Advisors. Usasciencefestival.org. Retrieved on 2012-02-17.
  23. ^ Weaver D, Reis MH, Albanese C, Costantini F, Baltimore D, Imanishi-Kari T (April 1986). "Altered repertoire of endogenous immunoglobulin gene expression in transgenic mice containing a rearranged mu heavy chain gene". Cell 45 (2): 247–59. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(86)90389-2. PMID 3084104.  (Retracted, see PMID 2032282)
  24. ^ a b Weiss, Philip (29 October 1989), "Conduct Unbecoming?", New York Times 
  25. ^ "Fraud in NIH Grant Programs," 12 April 1988; "Scientific Fraud," 4 & 9 May 1989; and "Scientific Fraud (Part 2)," 14 May 1990 (transcript includes 30 April 1990 hearing on R. Gallo's NIH lab)
  26. ^ Philip J. Hilts, "Crucial Data Were Fabricated In Report Signed by Top Biologist" (New York Times, 21 March 1991, pp. A1, B10)
  27. ^ Weaver D, Albanese C, Costantini F, Baltimore D (May 1991). "Retraction: altered repertoire of endogenous immunoglobulin gene expression in transgenic mice containing a rearranged mu heavy chain gene". Cell 65 (4): 536. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(91)90085-D. PMID 2032282. 
  28. ^ Foreman, Judy (May 6, 1991). "Fraud charge leaves a career in shambles Friends contend Thereza imanish-Kari is the victim of a `travesty,' but others say alligations are no surprise". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  29. ^ Knudson, Mary (August 2, 1991). "Health institutes chief gets pointed questions on misconduct cases". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  30. ^ Hall SS (December 1991). "David Baltimore's final days". Science 254 (5038): 1576–9. Bibcode:1991Sci...254.1576H. doi:10.1126/science.1749930. PMID 1749930.  or here [3]
  31. ^ Natalie Angier, "Embattled Biologist Will Return to M.I.T." (New York Times, 19 May 1992, P. C5)
  32. ^ Malcolm Gladwell, "Prosecutors Halt Scientific Fraud Probe; Researcher Baltimore Claims Vindication, Plans to 'Unretract' Paper" (Washington Post, 14 July 1992, P. A3);
  33. ^ Hamilton DP (July 1992). "U.S. attorney decides not to prosecute Imanishi-Kari". Science 257 (5068): 318. Bibcode:1992Sci...257..318H. doi:10.1126/science.1321499. PMID 1321499. 
  34. ^ "Thereza Imanishi-Kari, Ph.D., DAB No. 1582 (1996) Department of Health and Human Services Departmental Appeals Board RESEARCH INTEGRITY ADJUDICATIONS PANEL SUBJECT: Thereza Imanishi-Kari, Ph.D. Docket No. A-95-33 Decision No. 1582". HHS.gov. Department of Health and Human Services. June 21, 1996. HHS report exonerating Imanishi-Kari. 
  35. ^ a b Warsh, David (June 30, 1996). "The fortune that never was". Boston Globe. The public skirmish over the reputations of Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor David Baltimore and Tufts University researcher Thereza Imanishi-Kari has been formally ended by a report deeply embarrassing to the government 
  36. ^ Foreman, Judy (23 May 1988). "Baltimore Speaks Out on Disputed Study in Letter Sent to Colleagues Around the Nation; He Calls for Protection Against ‘threats’ to Scientific Freedom". Boston Globe. p. 31. 
  37. ^ Larry Thompson, "Science Under Fire; Behind the Clash Between Congress and Nobel Laureate David Baltimore" (Washington Post "Health" journal, 5(19): 12–6 (9 May 1989))
  38. ^ Weiss, Philip (1989). "Conduct Unbecoming". New York Times Magazine. This spectacle of damaged reputation was not just unseemly, but difficult to reconcile with the 51-year-old Baltimore's prominence and achievements 
  39. ^ Foreman, J. (17 April 1991). "MIT Institute Used Funds Wrongly". Boston Globe. p. 1. 
  40. ^ Horace Freeland Judson (2004). The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science. Orlando: Harcourt. 
  41. ^ Kevles, Daniel J. (May 27, 1996). "Annals of Science: The Assault on David Baltimore". New Yorker. 
  42. ^ "Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science". Book Review. Nature Medicine 7 (7): 767. 2001. doi:10.1038/89868. 
  43. ^ Lang S (1993). "Questions of scientific responsibility: the Baltimore case". Ethics Behav 3 (1): 3–72. doi:10.1207/s15327019eb0301_1. PMID 11653082. 
  44. ^ Kevles, Daniel J. (1998). The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-31970-9. 
  45. ^ Gunsalus, C.K. (21 January 1999). "Review of Kevles' "The Baltimore Case..."". New England Journal of Medicine 340 (3): 242. doi:10.1056/nejm199901213400320. 
  46. ^ Judson, Horace F. (2004). The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 978-0151008773. 
  47. ^ David Baltimore, 1989 (updated 2003). Issues.org (2003-07-09). Retrieved on 2012-02-17.
  48. ^ Perry, Jill (October 3, 2005). "Baltimore to Retire as Caltech President; Will Remain at Institute as Biology Professor". Caltech Media Relations. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  49. ^ Lois E. Beckett, "MIT Professor Fired for Faking Data; MIT biologist and HMS grad may also have falsified data in work at Harvard" (Harvard Crimson, 31 October 2005) [4]
  50. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella; Cook, Gareth (October 29, 2005). "More doubts raised on fired MIT professor". Boston Globe. 
  51. ^ Reich, E.S. (24 November 2007). "Scientific misconduct report still under wraps". New Scientist (2361): 16. 

External links[edit]

  1. Baltimore D (June 1970). "RNA-dependent DNA polymerase in virions of RNA tumour viruses". Nature 226 (5252): 1209–11. Bibcode:1970Natur.226.1209B. doi:10.1038/2261209a0. PMID 4316300. 
  2. Temin HM, Mizutani S (June 1970). "RNA-dependent DNA polymerase in virions of Rous sarcoma virus". Nature 226 (5252): 1211–3. Bibcode:1970Natur.226.1211T. doi:10.1038/2261211a0. PMID 4316301.