David Baltimore is a biologist who pioneered the development of DNA recombinant techniques, contributing to the discovery of how tumour viruses interact with the genetic material of cells. He shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work. David also helped to establish the US government’s guidelines on the Human Genome Project and is an advocate for research into HIV and AIDS.
In addition to recombinant DNA research, David has contributed to the fields of immunology, virology, cancer research and biotechnology. At the same time as Satoshi Mizutani and Howard Temin (with whom he shared the Nobel Prize), he independently discovered the reverse transcriptase enzyme — an essential component in the reproduction of retroviruses such as HIV.
In addition to his research, David is an influential administrator and public advocate for science and engineering. In collaboration with businessman and philanthropist Edwin ‘Jack’ Whitehead, he helped to set up the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, an independent research institute allied with MIT that focuses on developmental biology.
President Emeritus & Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
General microbiology (incl bacteriology and virology), Genetics (excluding population genetics)