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Born on this day
Julius Wagner-Jauregg
Julius Wagner-Jauregg (until 1919 Julius Wagner Ritter von Jauregg, 7 March 1857 Wels, Upper Austria – 27 September 1940 Vienna) was an Austrian physician and Nobel Laureate.
9th week in year
7 March 2021

Important personalitiesBack

David Baltimore7.3.1938

Wikipedia (08 Mar 2013, 08:54)
David Baltimore (born March 7, 1938) is an American biologist, university administrator, and Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. He served as president of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 1997 to 2006, and is currently the Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. He also served as president of Rockefeller University from 1990 to 1991, and was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.

Early years

Baltimore was born to Gertrude (Lipschitz) and Richard Baltimore in New York City. Raised in the Queens neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park, Queens, he moved with his family to suburban Great Neck, New York while he was in second grade because his mother felt that the city schools were inadequate. His father had been raised as an Orthodox Jew and his mother was an atheist, and Baltimore observed Jewish holidays and would attend synagogue with his father through his Bar Mitzvah. He graduated from Great Neck High School in 1956, and credits his interest in biology to a high-school summer spent at the Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program in Bar Harbor, Maine. He earned a BA at Swarthmore College in 1960, and received his Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in 1964. After postdoctoral fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a non-faculty research position at the Salk Institute, he joined the MIT faculty in 1968. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974.


In 1975, at the age of 37, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco. The citation reads, "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell." At the time, Baltimore's greatest contribution to virology was his discovery of reverse transcriptase (RTase or RT). Reverse transcriptase is essential for the reproduction of retroviruses such as HIV and was also discovered independently, and at about the same time, by Mizutani and Temin.

Also in 1975, Baltimore was an organizer of the Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA. In 1982, Baltimore was appointed the founding director of MIT's Whitehead Institute, where he remained through June 1990.

In 1981, Baltimore and Vincent Racaniello, a post-doctoral fellow in his laboratory, used recombinant DNA technology to generate a plasmid encoding the genome of poliovirus, an animal RNA virus. The plasmid DNA was introduced into cultured mammalian cells and infectious poliovirus was produced. The infectious clone, DNA encoding the genome of a virus, is a standard tool used today in virology. Other important breakthroughs from Baltimore's lab include the discovery of the transcription factor NF-κB and the recombination activating genes RAG-1 and RAG-2.

Baltimore became president of Rockefeller University in New York City on July 1, 1990. After resigning on December 3, 1991, Baltimore remained on the Rockefeller University faculty and continued research until spring of 1994. He then rejoined the MIT faculty.

Baltimore has influenced national policy concerning recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He has trained many doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, several of whom have gone on to notable and distinguished research careers. Baltimore is a member of The Jackson Laboratory's Board of Trustees, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Board of Sponsors, the National Academy of Sciences USA (NAS), the NAS Institute of Medicine (IOM), Amgen, Inc. Board of Directors, the BB Biotech AG Board of Directors, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Vaccine Research Committee (AVRC), and numerous other organizations and their boards.

Baltimore is a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

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