Famous 20th Century Molecular Biologists

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 1 
James Watson
(Molecular Biologist Who Co-discovered the Double Helix Structure of DNA With Francis Crick)
James Watson
10
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 2 
Francis Crick
(Co-discoverer of the Structure of the DNA Molecule, Nobel Prize Winner)
Francis Crick
6
Birthdate: June 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Weston Favell, Northamptonshire, England
Died: July 28, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning British biophysicist Francis Crick is best known for his ground-breaking work to determine the structure of the DNA, along with James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin. He taught at various institutes, such as the Salk Institute, and was also awarded the Order of Merit.

 3 
Matthieu Ricard
(Buddhist monk, author of more than a dozen books, including Happiness (2006), Why Meditate? (2010) and An Ode to Beauty (2016))
Matthieu Ricard
5
Birthdate: February 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aix-les-Bains, France

Matthieu Ricard is a French photographer, writer, translator, and Buddhist monk. He serves as a board member of the popular not-for-profit organization Mind and Life Institute. After having received a Ph.D. degree from the Pasteur Institute, Ricard gave up his scientific career to practice Tibetan Buddhism. He is also the co-founder of another international non-profit organization, Karuna-Shechen.

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 4 
Sydney Brenner
(Biologist)
Sydney Brenner
5
Birthdate: January 13, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germiston, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Died: April 5, 2019

Sydney Brenner was a South African biologist who made important contributions to various areas of molecular biology, including the genetic code. Brenner shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir John E. Sulston and H. Robert Horvitz. Sydney Brenner is credited with founding the Molecular Sciences Institute, which is situated in the United States of America.

 5 
Ardem Patapoutian
(Known for his work in characterizing the PIEZO1, PIEZO2, and TRPM8 receptors that detect pressure, menthol, and temperature)
Ardem Patapoutian
0
Birthdate: October 2, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon
 6 
Suzanne Eaton
(Scientist and professor of molecular biology)
Suzanne Eaton
4
Birthdate: December 23, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: July 2, 2019

American molecular scientist Suzanne Eaton had spent most of professional life at the Max Planck Institute. The WICB Junior Award winner had initially also considered alternative academic careers in comparative literature and math. She was raped and murdered by a Greek man in Crete, where she had gone for a conference.

 7 
Arthur Kornberg
(Biochemist)
Arthur Kornberg
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: October 26, 2007

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and doctor Arthur Kornberg is best remembered for his research on DNA synthesis. Born to Jewish immigrants in New York, Kornberg assisted his father at his hardware shop as a child. He had also been a ship doctor for the U.S. Coast Guard.

 8 
Carol W. Greider
(Biologist, Molecular biologist, Geneticist, Physician)
Carol W. Greider
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Davis

Carol W. Greider is a molecular biologist who discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984. Her discovery was honored several years later when she received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for their work on telomeres.  The trio also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the same work.  

 9 
Susumu Tonegawa
(Recipent of Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for his Discovery of V(D)J Recombination)
Susumu Tonegawa
2
Birthdate: September 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Susumu Tonegawa is a Japanese scientist known for his discovery of the genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity. For this work, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987. Even though he won the coveted award for his work in immunology, he is a molecular biologist by training. He now studies neuroscience. 

 10 
Walter Gilbert
(Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist)
Walter Gilbert
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

American molecular biologist and Nobel laureate Walter Gilbert pioneered research on the sequence of nucleotide links in DNA and RNA molecules. The Harvard and Cambridge alumnus later taught at Harvard. He also co-established firms dealing with genetic engineering and pharmaceutical research and was part of the Human Genome Project.

 11 
Max Perutz
(Molecular Biologist)
Max Perutz
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 6, 2002

Molecular biologist Max Perutz won a Nobel Prize for his research on the structure of hemoglobin. While working at Cambridge, he co-founded the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology. He also studied glaciers and their velocity distribution. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society.

 12 
Shirley M. Tilghman
(Molecular biologist, University teacher, Biochemist)
Shirley M. Tilghman
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto

Shirley Marie Tilghman, the nineteenth President of Princeton University, currently the Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs, is considered to be one of the most influential female scientists of our time. Although she is no longer involved in active research she is known for her contributions in the fields of molecular genetics, especially in genomic imprinting.

 13 
Peter Agre
(Chemist, Molecular biologist, Professor)
Peter Agre
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Northfield

Nobel Prize-winning doctor Peter Agre revolutionized science with his work on the movement of water molecules inside the cell membrane. Born to a chemistry professor, he developed an interest in science early in his life. He was also associated with the medical schools at Johns Hopkins and Duke University.

 14 
Philip Allen Sharp
(American Geneticist, Molecular Biologist and Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine)
Philip Allen Sharp
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Falmouth, Kentucky, United States

Philip Allen Sharp is an American molecular biologist and geneticist best known for co-discovering RNA splicing. In 1993, he received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Sir Richard John Roberts. Philip Allen Sharp has also won several other awards, such as the National Medal of Science, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. 

 15 
Richard J. Roberts
(Biochemist, Molecular Biologist)
Richard J. Roberts
7
Birthdate: September 6, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Derby, England,

Molecular biologist Richard J. Roberts is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning research on split genes. The Harvard alumnus had wished to be a detective as a child but changed his mind after being gifted a chemistry set. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society and knighted.

 16 
Margarita Salas
(Spanish Scientist Who is Known for Her Work in the Fields of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry)
Margarita Salas
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Valdés, Spain
Died: November 7, 2019

Margarita Salas was a Spanish scientist, author, and medical researcher. She is best remembered for her work in the fields of molecular genetics and biochemistry. In 2016, Margarita Salas became the first woman to be honored with the Echegaray medal. She was also the first woman from scientific background to become a member of the Royal Spanish Academy.

 17 
Sidney Altman
(Molecular Biologist)
Sidney Altman
1
Birthdate: May 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Known for his independent work on ribonucleic acid (RNA), molecular biologist Sidney Altman co-won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering that RNA, which was thought to be a passive carrier of genetic codes, is also capable of taking up active enzymatic functions. The discovery is significant in that it forced scientists to reexamine traditional theories on cellular functions.  

 18 
Matthew Meselson
(American Geneticist and Molecular Biologist Known for His Demonstration of 'Semi-conservative DNA Replication')
Matthew Meselson
1
Birthdate: May 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

Molecular biologist and geneticist Matthew Meselson is best known for his research on the Watson-Crick theory and the replication of DNA. The Harvard professor has received accolades such as the Guggenheim Fellowship and honorary degrees from eight universities, including Princeton and Yale. He has also been a CIA consultant.

 19 
Seymour Benzer
(American Physicist, Molecular Biologist and Behavioral Geneticist)
Seymour Benzer
1
Birthdate: October 15, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bensonhurst, New York, United States
Died: November 30, 2007

Born to Polish Jew parents in the Bronx, Seymour Benzer would often cut open frogs in childhood. The molecular biologist is best known for his research on viral genes and for coining the term cistron. A Caltech professor, he was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society.

 20 
Susan Lindquist
(American Molecular Biologist Who Made Key Discoveries Concerning Protein Folding)
Susan Lindquist
1
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: October 27, 2016

Cell biologist and MIT professor Susan Lindquist is best remembered for her research on protein folding and its impact on diseases. The Harvard alumna had also taught at the University of Chicago for 23 years. She was also the first female director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

 21 
Angelika Amon
(Molecular biologist)
Angelika Amon
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 29, 2020
 22 
Kenneth Murray
(British Molecular Biologist Who Cofounded ‘Biogen')
Kenneth Murray
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: East Ardsley, Yorkshire, England
Died: April 7, 2013

Kenneth Murray, one of the most influential molecular biologists of his time, was a co-founder of Biogen, which developed hepatitis B vaccines. He often collaborated with his wife, molecular geneticist Noreen, and earned six honorary degrees and a knighthood. He was also a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh.

 23 
Rana Dajani
(Molecular biologist)
Rana Dajani
3
Birthplace: Jordan
 24 
Richard Henderson
(Molecular biologist)
Richard Henderson
0
Birthdate: July 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
 25 
Hiba Mohamed
(Molecular Biologist)
Hiba Mohamed
0
Birthdate: January 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sudan