Hamilton O. Smith

About Hamilton O. Smith

Who is it?: Microbiologist
Birth Day: August 23, 1931
Birth Place: New York City, New York, United States
Birth Sign: Virgo
Alma mater: University of California, Berkeley, BA Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, MD
Known for: restriction enzymes

Hamilton O. Smith Net Worth

Hamilton O. Smith was bornon August 23, 1931 in New York City, New York, United States, is Microbiologist. Hamilton Othanel Smith is a microbiologist from America who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1978. He shared the prize with two other microbiologists for the discovery of ‘restriction enzymes’ that could divide the DNA in a cell into smaller pieces so that its construction could be studied more easily. The other two microbiologists who shared the prize with him were Werner Arber from Switzerland and Daniel Nathans from America. The ‘restriction enzymes’ discovered by Smith was a new type of enzyme that could recognize a certain sequence of nucleotides in a DNA or ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’ molecule and could cut the molecule at that very point. This discovery laid the foundation for using ‘restriction enzymes’ as a tool in genetics and microbiology for studying the DNA of different kinds of biological systems in later experiments. Arber and other microbiologists had already found that one type of ‘restriction enzymes’ recognizes DNA sequences and cuts them up at random points but not at the point of recognition. Smith and his colleagues discovered the second type of ‘restriction enzymes’ while studying the ‘Haemophilus influenzae’ bacteria that not only recognizes a specific point of the DNA molecule but also cuts it exactly at the same point.
Hamilton O. Smith is a member of Scientists

💰 Net worth: Under Review

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Biography/Timeline

1931

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. In 1975, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship he spent at the University of Zurich.

1970

In 1970, Smith and Kent W. Wilcox discovered the first type II restriction enzyme, that is now called as HindII. Smith went on to discover DNA methylases that constitute the other half of the bacterial host restriction and modification systems, as hypothesized by Werner Arber of Switzerland.

1978

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.

1995

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 assembly of the human genome at Celera Genomics, which he joined when it was founded in 1998.

2003

More recently, he has directed a team at the J. Craig Venter Institute that works towards creating a partially 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 privately 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.