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Daniel Nathans
Born October 30, 1928(1928-10-30)
Wilmington, Delaware
Died November 16, 1999 (aged 71)
Nationality American
Fields Microbiology
Institutions Johns Hopkins University
Known for Restriction enzymes
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1978)
National Medal of Science (1993)

Daniel Nathans (October 30, 1928 – November 16, 1999) was an American microbiologist.

He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the last of nine children born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. During the Great Depression his father lost his small business and was unemployed for a long period of time. Nathans went to public schools and then to the University of Delaware, where he studied chemistry, philosophy, and literature. He received his M.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1954. Nathans served as President of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland from 1995 to 1996.

Along with Werner Arber and Hamilton Smith, Nathans received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978 for the discovery of restriction enzymes.He was also awarded with National Medal of Science in 1993.

In 1999, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced the creation of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine that was named in his honor posthumously along with Victor McKusick [1]. In 2005, the School of Medicine named one of its four colleges after Dr. Nathans.


  • Brownlee, Christen (April 2005). "Danna and Nathans: Restriction enzymes and the boon to modern molecular biology". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102 (17): 5909. doi:10.1073/pnas.0502760102. PMID 4332003.  
  • Dimaio, D (. 2001). "Daniel Nathans: October 30, 1928-November 16, 1999". Biographical memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) 79: 262–79. PMID 11762397.  
  • Raju, T N (October 1999). "The Nobel chronicles. 1978: Werner Arber (b 1929); Hamilton O Smith (b 1931); Daniel Nathans (b 1928)". Lancet 354 (9189): 1567. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)76606-X. PMID 10551539.  
  • Shampo, M A; Kyle R A (April 1996). "Daniel Nathans--geneticist and microbiologist wins Nobel prize". Mayo Clin. Proc. 71 (4): 360. PMID 8637258.  
  • Kroon, A M (February 1979). "[The Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1978 (Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans, Hamilton Smith)]". Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 123 (5): 153–6. PMID 368662.  
  • Piekarowicz, A (. 1979). "[Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith. Nobel prizes for the studies on DNA restriction enzymes]". Postepy Biochem. 25 (2): 251–3. PMID 388391.  
  • Desiderio, S; Boyer S (November 1978). "Arber, Smith and Nathans: Nobel Laureates in medicine and physiology, 1978". The Johns Hopkins medical journal 143 (5): ix-x. PMID 364154.  

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