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Encyclopedia > Joshua Lederberg
Joshua Lederberg speaking at a conference in 1997
Joshua Lederberg speaking at a conference in 1997

Joshua Lederberg (born May 23, 1925) is an American molecular biologist who is known for his work in genetics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. He was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in 1958 for his research in genetic structure and function in microorganisms. The other half of that year's prize was shared by Edward Lawrie Tatum and George Wells Beadle. Image File history File links Joshua_Lederberg. ... Image File history File links Joshua_Lederberg. ... May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Molecular biology is the study of biology at a molecular level. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... Hondas humanoid robot AI redirects here. ... Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the Moon. ... Nobel Prize medal. ... 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A cluster of Escherichia coli bacteria magnified 10,000 times. ... Tatum won the Nobel Prize for his work in genetics Edward Lawrie Tatum (December 14, 1909 – November 5, 1975) was an American geneticist. ... Beadle won a Nobel Prize in 1958 George Wells Beadle (October 22, 1903 – June 9, 1989) was an American scientist in the field of genetics. ...


In addition to his contributions to biology, Lederberg did extensive research in artificial intelligence. This included work in the NASA experimental programs seeking life on Mars and the chemistry expert system Dendral. Biology (from Greek βίος λόγος, see below) is the study of life. ... Hondas humanoid robot AI redirects here. ... The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States Government, responsible for that nations public space program. ... Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system, named after the Roman god of war (the counterpart of the Greek Ares), on account of its blood red color as viewed in the night sky. ... Chemistry (from Greek χημεία khemeia[1] meaning alchemy) is the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale, dealing primarily with collections of atoms, such as molecules, crystals, and metals. ... An expert system also known as a knowledge based system, is a computer program that contains some of the subject-specific knowledge of one or more human experts. ... Dendral was one of the earliest expert systems. ...

Contents

Early life and education

Lederberg was born in Montclair, New Jersey, to Esther Goldenbaum Schulman Lederberg and Rabbi Zwi H. Lederberg, in 1925. He had two younger brothers. Lederberg graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City at the age of 15 in 1940. After graduation, he was allowed lab space as part of the American Institute Science Laboratory, a forerunner of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He enrolled in Columbia University in 1941, majoring in zoology. Under the mentorship of Francis J. Ryan, he conducted biochemical and genetic studies on the bread mold Neurospora crassa. Intending to receive his MD and fulfill his military service obligations, Lederberg worked as a hospital corpsman during 1943 in the clinical pathology laboratory at St. Albans Naval Hospital, where he examined sailors' blood and stool samples for malaria. He went on to receive his undergraduate degree in 1944. Map of Montclair Township in Essex County Montclair is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. ... Stuyvesant High School, commonly known as Stuy, is a New York City public high school that specializes in mathematics and science. ... Midtown Manhattan, looking north from the Empire State Building, 2005 New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the state of New York and the entire United States. ... The Intel Science Talent Search is a highly prestigious science competition in the United States. ... Columbia University is a private university whose main campus lies in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. ... Binomial name Neurospora crassa Shear & B.O. Dodge Neurospora crassa is a type of red bread mold of the phylum Ascomycota. ... Malaria is an infectious disease that is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ...


Bacterial genetics

He began medical studies at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons while continuing to perform experiments. Inspired by Oswald Avery's discovery of the importance of DNA, Lederberg began to investigate his hypothesis that, contrary to prevailing opinion, bacteria did not simply pass down exact copies of genetic information, making all cells in a lineage essentially clones. After making little progress at Columbia, Lederberg wrote to Tatum, Ryan's post-doctoral mentor, proposing a collaboration. In 1946 and 1947, Lederberg took a leave of absence to study under the mentorship of Tatum at Yale University. Lederberg and Tatum showed that the bacterium Escherichia coli entered a sexual phase during which it could share genetic information through bacterial conjugation [1]. With this discovery and some mapping of the E. coli chromosome, Lederberg was able to receive his Ph. D. from Yale University in 1947. Seal of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, referred to as P&S, is a graduate school of Columbia University located on the health sciences campus in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. ... Oswald Theodore Avery (October 21, 1877–1955) was a Canadian-born American physician and medical researcher. ... Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. ... Cloning is the process of creating an identical copy of an original organism or thing. ... Yale redirects here. ... Phyla/Divisions Actinobacteria Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Omnibacteria Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living organisms. ... ... Bacterial conjugation is the transfer of genetic material between bacteria through cell-to-cell contact. ... Figure 1: A representation of a condensed eukaryotic chromosome, as seen during cell division. ... Yale redirects here. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ...


Intending to return to Columbia to finish his medical degree, Lederberg instead chose to accept an offer of an assistant professorship in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lederberg and his graduate student Norton Zinder went on to show in 1952 that bacteriophages could transfer genetic information between bacteria in Salmonella [2]. This process, called transduction, explained how bacteria of different species could gain resistance to the same antibiotic very quickly. Lederberg and his then-wife Esther Lederberg also developed the replica plating technology in 1952. In 1957, he founded the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin. ... Norton Zinder (born November 7, 1928) is an American biologist famous for his discovery of genetic transduction. ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... A bacteriophage (from bacteria and Greek phagein, to eat) is a virus that infects bacteria. ... Species S. enterica Salmonella arizonae Salmonella enteritidis Salmonella typhi Salmonella typhimurium Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped Gram-negative enterobacteria that causes typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever and foodborne illness. ... Transduction is the process by which bacterial DNA is moved from one bacterium to another by a virus. ... Staphylococcus aureus - Antibiotics test plate. ... Esther Miriam Lederberg (nee Zimmer, December 18, 1922 - November 11, 2006) was an American microbiologist and immunologist and pioneer of bacterial genetics. ... Replica plating is a technique in which multiple dishes, also known as Petri plates, containing solid (agar-based) microbial media, are inoculated with between thirty and three-hundred colonies of microorganisms from a primary plate (or master dish), reproducing the original spatial pattern of colonies. ...


Post Nobel Prize research

Joshua Lederberg (right) receiving The National Medal of Science from George H. W. Bush.
Joshua Lederberg (right) receiving The National Medal of Science from George H. W. Bush.

In 1958, he received the Nobel Prize and moved to Stanford University where he was the founder and chairman of the Department of Genetics. He collaborated with Frank Macfarlane Burnet to study viral antibodies. With the launching of Sputnik in 1957, Lederberg became concerned about the biological impact of space exploration. In a letter to the National Academies of Sciences, he outlined his concerns that extraterrestrial microbes might gain entry to Earth onboard spacecraft, causing catastrophic diseases. He also argued that, conversely, microbial contamination of manmade satellites and probes may obscure the search for extraterrestrial life. He advised quarrentine for returning astronauts and equipment and sterilization of equipment prior to launch. Teaming up with Carl Sagan, his public advocacy for what he termed exobiology helped expand the role of biology in NASA. In the 1960s, he collaborated with Edward Feigenbaum in Stanford's computer science department to develop DENDRAL. Image File history File links Joshua_Lederberg_and_George_Bush. ... Image File history File links Joshua_Lederberg_and_George_Bush. ... The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University (or simply Stanford), is a private university located approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles northwest of San José in an unincorporated part of Santa Clara County. ... Sir Frank MacFarlane Burnet (born September 3, 1899 in Traralgon, Victoria; died August 31, 1985) was an Australian biologist. ... Sputnik 1 The Sputnik program was a series of unmanned space missions launched by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s to demonstrate the viability of artificial satellites. ... President Harding and the National Academy of Sciences at the White House, Washington, DC, April 1921 The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. ... Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrobiologist, and highly successful science popularizer. ... Astrobiology (in Greek astron = star, bios = life and logos = word/science), also known as exobiology (Greek: exo = out) or xenobiology (Greek: xenos = foreign) is the term for a speculative field within biology which considers the possible variety of extraterrestrial life. ... Edward Albert Feigenbaum (born January 20, 1936) is a computer scientist working in the field of artificial intelligence. ... Dendral was one of the earliest expert systems. ...


In 1978, he became the president of Rockefeller University, until he stepped down in 1990 and became professor-emeritus of molecular genetics and informatics at Rockefeller. 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Founders Hall Rockefeller University is a private university focusing primarily on graduate and postgraduate education research in the biomedical fields, located between 63rd and 68th Streets along York Avenue, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan island in New York City, New York. ... This article is about the year. ... Emeritus (IPA pronunciation: or ) is an adjective that is used in the title of a retired professor, bishop or other professional. ... Map of the human X chromosome (from the NCBI website). ...


Throughout his career, Lederberg was active as a scientific advisor to the U.S. government. Starting in 1950, he has been a member of various panels of the Presidential Science Advisory Committee. In 1979, he became a member of the U.S. Defense Science Board and the chairman of President Jimmy Carter's President's Cancer Panel. In 1989, he received National Medal of Science for his contributions to the scientific world. In 1994, he headed the Department of Defense's Task Force on Persian Gulf War Health Effects, which investigated Gulf War Syndrome. 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... For the Smashing Pumpkins song, see 1979 (song). ... The United States Defense Science Board, abbreviated as DSB, is a committee of civilian experts appointed to advise the Department of Defense on Scientific and Technical matters. ... James Earl Jimmy Carter, Jr. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... National Medal of Science The National Medal of Science, also called the Presidential Medal of Science, is an honor given by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social... Figure 1. ...


In 2006, Lederberg was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States, considered the equivalent of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. ...


Personal

He married fellow scientist Esther Zimmer (later Lederberg) in 1946; they divorced in 1966. He is married to Dr. Marguerite S. Lederberg. They have two children, David Kirsch and Anne Lederberg. Esther Miriam Lederberg (nee Zimmer, December 18, 1922 - November 11, 2006) was an American microbiologist and immunologist and pioneer of bacterial genetics. ...


References

  •  Lederberg, Joshua, and Edward L. Tatum. "Gene Recombination in Escherichia coli." Nature 158, (19 October 1946): 558.
  •  Zinder, Norton D., and Joshua Lederberg. "Genetic Exchange in Salmonella." Journal of Bacteriology 64, 5 (November 1952): 679-699.
  • U.S. National Libraries of Medicine. NIH Profiles in Science

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Joshua Lederberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (786 words)
Joshua Lederberg (born May 23, 1925) is an American molecular biologist who is known for his work in genetics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration.
Lederberg was born in Montclair, New Jersey and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City at the age of 15.
In 1946 and 1947, Lederberg took a leave of absence to study under the mentorship of Tatum at Yale University.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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