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Hamilton O. Smith

Hamilton O. Smith
Born August 23, 1931
Nationality United States
Fields microbiology
Known for restriction enzymes
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978

Hamilton Othanel Smith (born August 23, 1931) is an American microbiologist and Nobel laureate.

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 [1]. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1956.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978 for discovering type II restriction enzymes with Werner Arber and Daniel Nathans as co-recipients.

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 sequencing 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 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 pivately-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.[1]

References

  • 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 (June 1995). "Hamilton Smith--Nobel Prize winner in medicine or physiology". Mayo Clin. Proc. 70 (6): 540. PMID 7776712.  
  • Smith, H O; Wilcox K W (1992). "A restriction enzyme from Hemophilus influenzae. I. Purification and general properties. 1970". Biotechnology 24: 38–50. PMID 1330118.  
  • Berg, K (December 1978). "The Nobel prize in physiology and medicine 1978. Nobel prize to a controversial research field.". Tidsskr. Nor. Laegeforen. 98 (34-36): 1741–2. PMID 725894.  
  • , (November 1978). "Molecular genetics takes Nobel Prize". JAMA 240 (20): 2137–8. doi:10.1001/jama.240.20.2137. PMID 359842.  
  • "The Nobel prizewinners 1978: medicine. From modest beginnings.". Nature 275 (5682): 689–90. October 1978. PMID 360075.  
  • Lagerkvist, U (October 1978). "[To split a gene]". Lakartidningen 75 (43): 3892–4. PMID 279742.  

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Simple English

Hamilton Othanel Smith (born August 23, 1931) is a microbiologist and a Nobel prize winner. He was given the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was the leader in the field of genomics.


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