Hamilton O. Smith
|Hamilton O. Smith|
Hamilton O. Smith (2011) (Photo: Jane Gitschier)
August 23, 1931 |
New York City, New York
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley, BA
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, MD
|Known for||restriction enzymes|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978|
Smith was born on August 23, 1931, and graduated from University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but in 1950 transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his B.A. in Mathematics in 1952 . He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1956. In 1975, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship he spent at the University of Zurich.
In 1970, Smith and Kent W. Wilcox discovered the first type II restriction enzyme, that is now called as HindII. Smith went on to discover DNA methylases that constitute the other half of the bacterial host restriction and modification systems, as hypothesized by Werner Arber of Switzerland.
He later became a leading figure in the nascent field of genomics, when in 1995 he and a team at The Institute for Genomic Research sequenced the first bacterial genome, that of Haemophilus influenzae. H. influenza was the same organism in which Smith had discovered restriction enzymes in the late 1960s. He subsequently played a key role in the sequencing of many of the early genomes at The Institute for Genomic Research, and in the assembly of the human genome at Celera Genomics, which he joined when it was founded in 1998.
More recently, he has directed a team at the J. Craig Venter Institute that works towards creating a partially synthetic bacterium, Mycoplasma laboratorium. In 2003 the same group synthetically assembled the genome of a virus, Phi X 174 bacteriophage. Currently, Smith is scientific director of privately held Synthetic Genomics, which was founded in 2005 by Craig Venter to continue this work. Currently, Synthetic Genomics is working to produce biofuels on an industrial-scale using recombinant algae and other microorganisms.
This article incorporates CC-BY-2.5 text from the reference
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- Berg, K. (1978). "The Nobel prize in physiology and medicine 1978. Nobel prize to a controversial research field". Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening : tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke 98 (34–36): 1741–1742. PMID 725894.
- "Molecular genetics takes Nobel Prize". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 240 (20): 2137. 1978. doi:10.1001/jama.240.20.2137.
- "Brazil learns its ecological lessons–the hard way". Nature 275 (5682): 684. 1978. doi:10.1038/275684a0. PMID 360075.
- Smith H, Wilcox KW (1970). "A Restriction enzyme from Hemophilus influenzae *1I. Purification and general properties". Journal of Molecular Biology 51 (2): 379–391. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(70)90149-X. PMID 5312500.
- Smith, H. O.; Wilcox, K. W. (1992). "A restriction enzyme from Hemophilus influenzae. I. Purification and general properties. 1970". Biotechnology (Reading, Mass.) 24: 38–50. PMID 1330118.
- Tikka, Juha-Pekka. Craig Venter Has Algae Biofuel in Synthetic Genomics’ Pipeline. Xconomy San Diego. 6/4/09.
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