|Martha Cowls Chase|
November 30, 1927|
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA
|Died||August 8, 2003
Lorain, Ohio, USA
|Alma mater||College of Wooster, University of Southern California|
Martha Cowles Chase (November 30, 1927 – August 8, 2003), also known as Martha C. Epstein, was an American geneticist known for being a member of the 1952 team (see Alfred Hershey) that experimentally helped to confirm that DNA rather than protein is the genetic material of life. She was greatly respected as a geneticist.
Early life and college education
Research and later life
In 1952 Chase was a young laboratory assistant to American bacteriophage expert Alfred Hershey at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from the Carnegie Institution of Washington. This was where the well-known Hershey–Chase experiment was performed. The experiment helped to confirm that it was DNA, and not protein, that was the genetic material through which traits were inherited. This result was contrary to prevailing scientific opinion at the time.
In 1953 Chase moved to a post at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and she later also worked at the University of Rochester. During the 1950s she returned to Cold Spring Harbor to take part in meetings of the Phage Group of biologists.
She met and married fellow scientist Richard Epstein in California in the late 1950s. The marriage was brief and they divorced shortly after. A series of personal setbacks through the 1960s ended Chase's career in science. She spent decades suffering from a form of dementia that robbed her of short-term memory. She died of pneumonia on August 8, 2003, at the age of 75.
- Hershey, A. D. and Martha Chase. "Independent Functions of Viral Protein and Nucleic Acid in Growth of Bacteriophage." J. Gen. Physiol., 36 (1): 39-56. September 20, 1952.
- Dawson, Milly (2003-08-20). "Martha Chase dies". The Scientist. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- Lavietes, Stuart. "Martha Chase, 75, a Researcher Who Aided in DNA Experiment". The New York Times.
- Linus Pauling and the race for DNA: Martha Chase
- Dawson, Milly. Martha Chase Dies. Genome Biology 2003, 4:spotlight-20030820-01 doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20030820-01.
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