A Scientist Looks Back


A Scientist Looks Back


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Heinz Fraenkel-Conrat is professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular Biology, University of California at Berkeley. He received his M.D. from the University of Breslau in 1933 and his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1936. Before joining the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Fraenkel-Conrat held research fellowships in the laboratories of Max Bergmann (Rockefeller Institute), K. Slotta (lnstituto Butantan, Sao Paulo, Brazil), and H. M. Evans (Institute for Experimental Biology, University of California at Berkeley). He had also served for eight years as senior chemist at the Western Regional Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture in Albany, California. Dr. Fraankel- Connrat rnoved to the Virus Laboratory (founded by Wendell M. STanley) of the Department of Virology, University of California at Berkeley, in 1952; the department was later renamed the Department of Molecular Biology. Among his hundreds of scientific publications are the books Design and Function at the Threshold of Life: The Viruses; The Chemistry and Biology of Viruses; Catalogue of Viruses (Volume 1 of Comprehensive Virology); Virology (with P. Kimball); and Catalog, Characterization, and Classification of Viruses, a volume in The Viruses series. He has served on numerous editorial boards, including those of Biochemistry, Virology, and Intervirology, and he is editor (with R. R. Wagner) of the multivolume series Comprehensive Virology and of the newer series, The Viruses.

Dr. Fraenkel-Conrat is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has received the Albert Lasker Award and the Alexander von Humbolt Prize, and was the first California Scientist of the Year.

His work: Best known for his famous mixed reconstitution of the tobacco mosaic virus (H. Fraenkel-Conrat & B. Singer, "Virus reconstitution IL Combination of protein and nucleic acid from different strains," Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 24: 540-548, 1957), which very elegantly demonstrated, once and for all, that nucleic acid, not protein, determined heredity, Dr. Fraenkel Conrat was also the first to demonstrate enzymatic peptide bond synthesis and the first to demonstrate the existence of RNA-directed RNA polymerases in plants.

(Text taken from the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series Program 1993-1994).


Molecular Biology

Creation Date

December 4, 1993

A Scientist Looks Back