Theodore Puck

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Theodore Puck
Born(1916-09-24)September 24, 1916
DiedNovember 6, 2005(2005-11-06) (aged 89)
Citizenship United States
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
Known forGenetics, cell cloning, human karyotype
AwardsAlbert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1958)
Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1973)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorJames Franck

Theodore Puck (September 24, 1916 – November 6, 2005) was an American geneticist born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Chicago public schools and obtained his bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. His PhD work was on the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom and his doctoral adviser was James Franck.

Puck was an early pioneer of "somatic cell genetics" and single-cell plating ( i.e. "cloning" .) This work allowed the genetics of human and other mammalian cells to be studied in detail. Puck's key work ultimately made modern genetics, such as the human genome and other mammalian genome projects, possible. Dr. Puck with the assistance of Philip I. Marcus, successfully cloned a HeLa cell in 1955.

Puck made many basic discoveries in several areas. His team found that humans had 46 chromosomes rather than 48 which had earlier been believed. He developed the CHO cell line from Chinese hamster ovarian cells for this work. These cells are still widely utilized in the bio pharmaceutical industry. Puck studied X-rays and cellular mutations. He also isolated and studied cellular mutations.

Puck has won a number of honors for his work most notably the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1958. In 1973 he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Renato Dulbecco and Harry Eagle. Dulbecco won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1975.He also founded the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute at the University of Denver where he was an Emeritus Professor. A member of the National Academy of Science since 1960, Puck published more than 200 papers on topics including Alzheimer's Disease and Down syndrome, and optimising radiotherapy dosages for the treatment of cancer.

He died following complications from a broken hip.


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