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Fellows Directory

Oliver Smithies

Oliver Smithies

Professor Oliver Smithies ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 1998


Oliver Smithies was a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist who devised groundbreaking techniques to advance medical research. He introduced starch as a medium for gel electrophoresis in 1955. He also discovered the principles for gene targeting, a method used to inactivate single genes in mouse DNA for use in medical research.

Oliver’s discoveries provided a novel way of creating animal models of human diseases to gain a deeper understanding of genetic processes. His techniques are now used in laboratories around the world to establish the roles of individual genes in cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.

Since his election to the US National Academy of Sciences in 1971, Oliver received a great number of awards and honours. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2007, along with colleagues Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, in recognition of his contribution to the development of gene targeting.

Professor Oliver Smithies ForMemRS died on 10 January 2017.


  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

    Jointly with Mario R. Capecchi and Sir Martin J. Evans for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.

  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of medicine for their contribution to the development of gene-targeting, enabling elucidation of gene function in mice.

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