Herbert Boyer

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Herbert Boyer

Herb Boyer
Born July 10, 1936 (1936-07-10) (age 77)
Derry, Pennsylvania
Notable awards National Medal of Science (1990)

Herbert W. Boyer (born July 10, 1936 in Derry, Pennsylvania) received the 1990 National Medal of Science, and is a co-founder of Genentech. He served as Vice President of Genentech from 1976 until his retirement in 1991.[1]

With Stanley Cohen, he did possibly the first piece of genetic engineering.[2]

Career[change | edit source]

Boyer was a Professor of Biochemistry from 1976 to 1991, where he discovered that genes from bacteria could be combined with genes from eukaryotes. In 1977, Boyer's laboratory and collaborators described the first-ever synthesis and expression of a peptide-coding gene.[3] In August 1978, he produced synthetic insulin using his new transgenic genetically modified bacteria, followed in 1979 by a growth hormone.

In 1976, Boyer founded Genentech with venture capitalist Robert A. Swanson. Genentech's approach to the first synthesis of insulin beat Walter Gilbert's approach at Biogen which used genes from natural sources. Boyer built his gene from its individual nucleotides.

In 1990 April, Boyer and his wife Grace gave the single largest donation ($10,000,000) bestowed on the Yale School of Medicine by an individual. The Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine was named after the Boyer family in 1991.[4][5]

In 2007, St. Vincent College announced that they had renamed the School of Natural Science, Mathematics, and Computing the Herbert W. Boyer School.[6]

Among his professional activities, Boyer is on the Board of Scientific Governors of The Scripps Research Institute.[7]

Awards[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "The Pioneers of Molecular Biology: Herb Boyer". Time Magazine, March 9, 1981 cover of TIME. February 9, 2002. http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030217/scdprofile2.html. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  2. Cohen S; Chang A; Boyer H. & Helling R. 1973. Construction of biologically functional bacterial plasmids in vitro. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 70 (11): 3240–3244 [1]
  3. Expression in Escherichia coli of a chemically synthesized gene for the hormone somatostatin. Science. 198(4321):1056-63.
  4. Yale and Medicine, 1951-2001: 1991-2001
  5. Boyer Center Homepage
  6. Saint Vincent College announces naming of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences - Saint Vincent College
  7. The Scripps Research Institute [2]