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Ralph L. Brinster: Wikis


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Ralph L. Brinster (1932) is an internationally renowned American geneticist and Richard King Mellon Professor of Reproductive Physiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.[1]


Birth and education

Ralph L. Brinster was born in 1932 and grew up on a small farm in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, United States. He studied animal science as an undergraduate at the School of Agriculture, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and completed his BS in 1953. He was an officer in the United States Air Force (1953-1956) and served in an active combat zone during and after the Korean War. He returned from military service and earned his V.M.D. (1960) and his Ph.D. in Physiology (1964) from the University of Pennsylvania.


Ralph L. Brinster is known for his revolutionary research in embryonic-cell differentiation, developmental mechanisms of gene control, and transgenesis. He is a pioneer in the development of techniques for manipulating the cellular and genetic composition of early mouse embryos, and these techniques have made the mouse the major genetic model for understanding the basis of human biology and disease.

In the 1960s, Dr. Brinster developed the first reliable in vitro culture system for early mammalian embryos. These techniques have been conserved to the present day and form the foundation for all experimentation with the mammalian embryo - including transgenic, embryonic stem cell, human in vitro fertilization, mammalian cloning, and knockout technology. This "Brinster Method" of embryo manipulation is so ubiquitous in modern biology that other scientists rarely cite the work in current publications.

He first showed that it was possible to colonize a mouse blastocyst with stem cells from older embryos. Moreover, Dr. Brinster first demonstrated that teratocarcinoma cells could combine with blastocyst cells to form adult "chimeric" mice, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach to change the genetic character of mice. He was the first scientist to microinject fertilized eggs (with RNA) and was at the forefront of the field in applying these microinjection methods to generate transgenic mice.

Ralph L. Brinster is acknowledged as the founder of the field of mammalian transgenesis. He and longtime collaborator Richard Palmiter pioneered the development of methods to transfer foreign genes into animals, and they utilized these methods to elucidate the activity and function of genes. Their seminal experiments showed that new genes could be, for the first time, introduced into the mammalian genome with the potential to increase disease resistance, enhance growth, and produce vital proteins like blood-clotting factors needed by hemophiliacs.

Together, these two created many of the landmark models of human disease throughout the 1980s, including the first oncologic and diabetic mouse models induced by transgene. Their internationally renowned, prolific partnership also yielded the first transgenic rats, rabbits, sheep, and pigs.

In recent years, Dr. Brinster has continued as a leader in the field of stem cell biology, having made a series of explosive discoveries utilizing male germ line stem cells.

According to the Gairdner Foundation (Gairdner Foundation International Award), Dr. Brinster's range of contributions is unmatched in the field of mammalian genetic modification.

Awards and honors

Ralph L. Brinster has received numerous awards and honours in his life. Dr. Brinster was honoured with longtime collaborator Richard Palmiter by the Gran Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer, the highest award of the French Academy of Sciences in 1994. In 1996, he received the inaugural March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology with Beatrice Mintz for "studies resulting in the development of transgenic mice." In 1997, he was awarded the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science by the Franklin Institute, then the largest scientific prize in the United States.[2] He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Medicine, Israel in 2002/3 "for the development of procedures to manipulate mouse ova and embryos, which has enabled transgenesis and its applications in mice".[3] Dr. Brinster received the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 2006 "for his pioneering discoveries in germ line modifications in mammals."

2006 Gairdner Foundation International Award, Canada For pioneering discoveries in germ line modification in mammals

2003 Selected for the Hall of Honor National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (15 members, total)

2003 Wolf Prize in Medicine, Israel For pioneering techniques to introduce and modify genes in mice

2001 Ernst W. Bertner Award University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in recognition of pioneering contributions to cancer research.

2000 Charlton Lecture Tufts University School of Medicine

2000 Honorary Doctor of Science Degree Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

1999 George Hammel Cook Distinguished Alumni Award Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

1998 Pioneer in Reproduction Research Award National Institute of Child Health & Human Development

1998 Honored by a Special Festschrift Issue, dedicated to Dr. Brinster and the worldwide impact of his contributions; International Journal of Developmental Biology

1997 Carl Hartman Award Society for the Study of Reproduction

1997 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science Franklin Institute

1997 John Scott Award for Scientific Achievement City Trusts of Philadelphia

1996 Prize in Developmental Biology Inaugural March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology

1995 Alumni Award of Merit University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine

1994 Doctor Honoris Causa in Medicine University of the Basque Country, Spain

1994 Gran Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer, Highest award of the French Academy of Sciences

1992 Pioneer Award International Embryo Transfer Society

1992 Juan March Foundation Lecture Madrid, Spain

1992 Fellow American Academy of Microbiology

1991 Invited Lecturer at Nobel Symposium : Stockholm, Sweden

1989 Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science

1989 Distinguished Service Award U.S. Department of Agriculture

1987 Member National Academy of Sciences

1987 Honored by an International Symposium W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center

1986 Member of the Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences

1986 Fellow American Academy of Arts and Science

1984 Harvey Society Lecturer

1983 Award in Biological and Medical Sciences New York Academy of Sciences

1961-1964 Pennsylvania Plan Scholar University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

1960-1961 American Veterinary Medical Association Fellow University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


  1. ^ Ralph L. Brinster at the University of Pennsylvania
  2. ^ 1997 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science.[1]
  3. ^ The Wolf Prize in Medicine

External links



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