Famous 21st Century Biochemists

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 1 
Jennifer Doudna
(American Biochemist Known for the Invention of 'CRISPR Gene Editing')
Jennifer Doudna
4
Birthdate: February 19, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

American biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, who has made fundamental contributions in biochemistry and genetics, is best-known for her pioneering work in CRISPR gene-editing. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a method for genome editing through CRISPR, marking them as the only two women to share science Nobel ever.

 2 
Peggy Whitson
(Biochemistry Researcher and First Female Astronaut to Command the International Space Station)
Peggy Whitson
4
Birthdate: February 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, Iowa, United States

The first woman to command the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson was born to farmers and decided to become an astronaut after watching the moon landing on TV. She also boasts of a PhD in biochemistry and has been a researcher and educator of biochemistry and genetic engineering.

 3 
Kary B. Mullis
(Biochemist)
Kary B. Mullis
6
Birthdate: December 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lenoir, North Carolina, United States
Died: August 7, 2019
Biochemist Kary Mullis won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the polymerase chain reaction. He was also known for practicing clandestine chemistry and researching on hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. He also wrote several books, including an autobiography named Dancing Naked in the Mind Field.
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 4 
Emmanuelle Charpentier
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Juvisy-sur-Orge, France
 5 
Eric Kandel
(Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Neuroscientist, Psychologist, Biochemist)
Eric Kandel
4
Birthdate: November 7, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna

Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel is known for his research on the role of synapses in memory and learning. An Austrian Jew, he left his country with his family and moved to the U.S. in the wake of anti-Semitism. A doctor, specializing in psychiatry, he later taught at Columbia University.

 6 
Katalin Karikó
(mRNA technology in immunology and therapies)
Katalin Karikó
0
Birthdate: January 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Szolnok, Hungary

Hungarian biochemist Katalin Karikó is best known for her research on mRNA, which led scientists to develop the first mRNA-based vaccine in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. After working at the Biological Research Centre in Szeged, she moved to the US due to lack of funding.

 7 
Alexander Shulgin
(Rediscoverer of MDMA)
Alexander Shulgin
6
Birthdate: June 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: June 2, 2014

A pioneer of psychedelic drug synthesis, Alexander Shulgin came to be known as The Godfather of Ecstasy, for reinventing the drug MDMA, or ecstasy, for medical use. The Harvard drop-out, who later studied psychiatry and pharmacology, would often experiment his newly invented drugs on himself, his wife, and his friends.

 8 
Tim Hunt
(Biochemist, Chemist)
Tim Hunt
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Neston

Nobel Prize-winning British biochemist Tim Hunt is best known for his research on cell cycle regulation. He was the first to isolate cyclin, while studying sea urchins. His work helped scientists working on cancer research. He has been knighted for his achievements and has also won the Royal Medal.

 9 
Tasuku Honjo
(Nobel Prize-Winning Japanese Immunologist Who Is Known for His Research on Cancer Immunotherapy)
Tasuku Honjo
0
Birthdate: January 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese immunologist Tasuku Honjo is known identifying the programmed cell death protein 1 and for revolutionizing cancer immunotherapy. Initially part of the University of Tokyo's faculty of medicine, he later taught genetics, immunology, and medical chemistry at several institutes. He was a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

 10 
Paul Berg
(Biochemist)
Paul Berg
3
Birthdate: June 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Paul Berg is best known for his research on recombinant DNA techniques. The Stanford professor was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York and is a Penn State alumnus. He has also won the National Medal of Science, among other awards.

 11 
Satoshi Ōmura
(Nobel Prize-Winning Biochemist Known for His Contribution to Roundworm Infection Treatments)
Satoshi Ōmura
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nirasaki, Yamanashi, Japan

Japanese biochemist Satoshi Ōmura won the Nobel Prize for contributing to the discovery of avermectin and ivermectin, and thus helping in developing treatments for roundworm parasite infections. He has also been associated with the faculty of the Kitasato University and the Wesleyan University.

 12 
Tomas Lindahl
(Swedish-British Scientist Specialising in Cancer Research)
Tomas Lindahl
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Tomas Lindahl is a Swedish-British scientist who specializes in cancer research. He is best known as the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he received alongside Turkish chemist Aziz Sancar and American chemist Paul L. Modrich. Over the years, Tomas Lindahl has also been honored with other prestigious awards such as the Royal Medal and Copley Medal.

 13 
Shirley M. Tilghman
(Molecular biologist, University teacher, Biochemist)
Shirley M. Tilghman
3
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.

 14 
Shannon Lucid
(American Biochemist and NASA Astronaut)
Shannon Lucid
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Shannon Lucid once held the record for the longest space stay by any woman and by any American. Born in China, to missionaries, she was imprisoned by the Japanese, along with her parents, as an infant. The family then moved to the U.S., where Lucid studied at the University of Oklahoma.

 15 
Stanley B. Prusiner
(Neurologist and Biochemist)
Stanley B. Prusiner
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

The son of an architect, Stanley B. Prusiner earned the nickname "little Genius" for inventing a bug repellent in school. The Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and neurologist is best known for discovering prions, or proteins that cause diseases, and thus suggesting an explanation for the mad cow disease.

 16 
Elias Zerhouni
(Scientist)
Elias Zerhouni
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nedroma, Algeria

Elias Zerhouni was born to a math professor in Algeria and later studied medicine, specializing in radiology, inspired by an uncle. He has been associated with the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University medical school. The former NIH director also developed the existing MRI and CAT scan technologies.

 17 
Richard J. Roberts
(Biochemist, Molecular Biologist)
Richard J. Roberts
3
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.

 18 
Walter Gilbert
(Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist)
Walter Gilbert
5
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.

 19 
Christian de Duve
(Belgian Biochemist Who Discovered Two Cell Organelles, 'Peroxisome' and 'Lysosome')
Christian de Duve
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thames Ditton, England
Died: May 4, 2013

Christian de Duve was an English-born Belgian cytologist and biochemist. For his discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, he shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Albert Claude and George E. Palade. He was the founder of the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, which was later renamed in his honor. 

 20 
Osamu Shimomura
(Nobel Prize-Winning Japanese Organic Chemist and Marine Biologist Known for Discovering GFP)
Osamu Shimomura
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kyoto

Nobel Prize-winning Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist Osamu Shimomura is remembered for discovering the green fluorescent protein, or GFP. He was also associated with Princeton University and the Marine Biological Laboratory as a researcher and faculty member. He was named to the US National Academy of Sciences, too.

 21 
Robert Lefkowitz
(American Physician and Biochemist, Best Known for His Discovery of 'G Protein-Coupled Receptors')
Robert Lefkowitz
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

Born into a family of Polish immigrants, Robert Lefkowitz grew up to be a cardiologist and biochemist, and later taught at Duke University. He is best known for his research on the signal-receiving receptor molecules, such as the GPCRs, which eventually won him a Nobel Prize.

 22 
Paul L. Modrich
(Biochemist)
Paul L. Modrich
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Raton, New Mexico, United States

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and Duke University professor Paul L. Modrich was born to a biology teacher and sports coach father. He studied at both MIT and Stanford and did his postdoctoral research at Harvard. He is best known for his discovery of DNA mismatch repair.

 23 
David Julius
(American Physiologist Who Discovered the Receptors for Touch and Temperature)
David Julius
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

David Julius is an American physiologist best known for winning the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021. He won the award alongside Ardem Patapoutian for discovering the receptors for touch and temperature. David Julius is also the recipient of several other awards, such as the Shaw Prize,  Gairdner Foundation International Award, and Prince of Asturias Prize.

 24 
Roger D. Kornberg
(biochemist, chemist, university teacher)
Roger D. Kornberg
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: St. Louis

American chemist Roger D. Kornberg studied at Harvard and Stanford and later taught at both these institutes. His research focuses on transcription, or the process of the conversion of DNA into RNA. Both he and his father have won the Nobel Prize, becoming the sixth father-son duo to achieve the feat.

 25 
Stanley Cohen
(Biochemist)
Stanley Cohen
3
Birthdate: November 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: February 5, 2020

Nobel laureate Stanley Cohen was born to a Jewish immigrant tailor and initially worked as a bacteriologist. The American biochemist revolutionized science with his research on cellular growth factors, helping later scientists understand the development of cancer cells. He spent most of his career at the Washington and Vanderbilt universities.

 26 
Thomas C. Südhof
(German-American Biochemist Known for His Study of 'Synaptic Transmission')
Thomas C. Südhof
2
Birthdate: December 22, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Göttingen, Germany

German-American neuroscientist Thomas C. Südhof was a gifted musician in his early days, having mastered instruments such as the bassoon. He later won a Nobel Prize for his research on the chemical signaling in neurons, which helped later scientists understand neurological conditions such as autism and schizophrenia.

 27 
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.

 28 
Joseph L. Goldstein
(Molecular Geneticist)
Joseph L. Goldstein
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, United States

American molecular geneticist Joseph L. Goldstein was born to clothing store owner parents in South Carolina. He ended up winning a Nobel Prize for his research on cholesterol metabolism, which later helped researchers develop statin drugs. He currently chairs the molecular genetics department of the University of Texas.

 29 
Bruce Ames
(Biochemist, University teacher, Chemist)
Bruce Ames
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

University of California, Berkeley professor, biochemist, and geneticist Bruce Ames is largely known for his invention of the Ames test, used to test the ability of chemicals to cause mutations, and his studies on cancer and ageing. The Cornell and Caltech alumnus has been associated with the NIAMD, too.

 30 
Edmond H. Fischer
(Biochemist)
Edmond H. Fischer
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: August 27, 2021

Born in China, to an Austrian-born lawyer, Edmond H. Fischer studied in a Swiss boarding school and also aspired to be a musician. The Nobel Prize-winning biochemist is now best known for his path-breaking research on reversible phosphorylation, which regulates cell protein activity. He also taught at the University of Washington.

 31 
Bruce Alberts
(American Biochemist Best Known for Having Served as President of the National Academy of Sciences (1993 - 2005))
Bruce Alberts
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Bruce Alberts switched to biophysics at Harvard after getting bored with physical chemistry. He later led the NAS as its president and co-wrote iconic text books such as Molecular Biology of the Cell. Apart from teaching at Princeton and Harvard, he worked to improve science education in schools.

 32 
Thomas A. Steitz
(Biochemist)
Thomas A. Steitz
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: October 9, 2018

American biophysicist/biochemist and Yale University professor Thomas A. Steitz is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning work on the structure and function of ribosomes. The Harvard alumnus has also worked at molecular biology lab at Cambridge and has co-founded a pharma company that creates antibiotics based on ribosomes.

 33 
James Rothman
(American Biochemist and Cell Biologist Known for Discovering the Molecular Machinery Involved in Vesicle Budding)
James Rothman
2
Birthdate: November 3, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States

American cell biologist and biochemist James Rothman is best known for his ground-breaking research on cellular vesicles and membrane fusion, which laid the path for further research on immunological and neurological ailments. The Nobel laureate is a Yale and Harvard alumnus and has also taught at many prestigious universities.

 34 
Paul D. Boyer
(Biochemist)
Paul D. Boyer
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1918
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States
Died: June 2, 2018

American biochemist, analytical chemist, and professor Paul Delos Boyer was the first Utah-born Nobel laureate. His elucidation of enzymatic mechanism underlying synthesis of adenosine triphosphate with John E. Walker led the two to jointly win the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry which they co-received with Jens C. Skou for a separate research of the latter.

 35 
Arieh Warshel
(Israeli-American Biochemist and Biophysicist Known for His Work on Computational Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Arieh Warshel
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kibbutz Sde-Nahum, Israel

Born in Israel, Arieh Warshel had been part of the Israeli Army before he moved to the U.S. for his PhD at Harvard University. His research on computational enzymology helped him create computer models of chemical reactions and earned him a Nobel Prize. He later established a computational biology institute.

 36 
Avram Hershko
(Biochemist, Educationist, University teacher)
Avram Hershko
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Karcag

Born to Jewish teacher parents in Hungary, Avram Hershko spent a few years in a concentration camp during World War II. He and his family managed to escape and settled in Israel, where he became a renowned chemist, later winning the Nobel Prize for discovering how cells remove unwanted proteins.

 37 
Jens C Skou
(Danish Biochemist and Winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)
Jens C Skou
2
Birthdate: October 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lemvig, Denmark
Died: May 28, 2018

Jens C. Skou was a Danish biochemist best known for his work in the field of animal cells. Along with Paul D. Boyer and John E. Walker, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997. He had a brilliant academic career and remained active well into his 90s. He died at the age of 99. 

 38 
Robert Huber
(Nobel Prize-Winning German Biochemist Known for His Research on Photosynthesis-Related Crystallography)
Robert Huber
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Nobel Prize-winning German biochemist Robert Huber crystallized a photosynthesis-related intramembrane protein and thus developed the 3-D structure of a photosynthetic reaction center. He has been associated with Cardiff University and is a co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. He has also been awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society.

 39 
Edwin G. Krebs
(Biochemist)
Edwin G. Krebs
1
Birthdate: June 6, 1918
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lansing, Iowa, United States
Died: December 21, 2009

American biochemist Edwin Gerhard Krebs is best-known for collaborating with Edmond H. Fischer in elucidating the way reversible phosphorylation works as a switch in activating proteins and regulating different cellular processes. This key discovery of reversible protein phosphorylation led the two to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1992.

 40 
Gregory Winter
(Nobel Prize-Winning English Molecular Biologist Best Known for His Work on the Therapeutic Use of Monoclonal Antibodies)
Gregory Winter
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1951
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leicester, England

Gregory Winter is a British molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner. He is best known for his work concerning the therapeutic use of monoclonal antibodies. Gregory Winter is credited with pioneering a technique to humanize mouse monoclonal antibodies, which enabled the usage of antibodies for therapeutic uses.

 41 
Frédérique Vidal
(Biochemist, Politician)
Frédérique Vidal
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monaco
 42 
Tak Wah Mak
(Oncologist, University teacher)
Tak Wah Mak
0
Birthdate: October 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: China
 43 
Daniel E. Koshland Jr.
1
Birthdate: March 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: July 23, 2007

Daniel E. Koshland Jr. made his own fortune in science in spite of being the son of Levi Strauss CEO Daniel E. Koshland Sr. and one of the most affluent men in America. Apart from working on the Manhattan Project, he also created the induced fit model of enzyme catalysis.

 44 
Robert Bruce Merrifield
(American Biochemist and Winner of the1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)
Robert Bruce Merrifield
2
Birthdate: July 15, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: May 14, 2006

American biochemist Robert Bruce Merrifield is best known for pioneering the method for production of synthetic peptides in the lab called solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). This invention of SPPS led Merrifield to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1984. He also won the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Award in 1998 for his outstanding contributions to Biomolecular Technologies.

 45 
Marian Ewurama Addy
1
Birthdate: February 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nkawkaw, Ghana
Died: January 14, 2014
 46 
Arthur Peacocke
(English Anglican Biochemist and Theologian)
Arthur Peacocke
1
Birthdate: November 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Watford, England
Died: October 21, 2006

Arthur Peacocke was an English Anglican biochemist and theologian. He is best remembered for his work concerning the relationship between religion and science. In 1983, Peacocke was honored with the Lecomte du Noüy Prize. He was also awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2001. Arthur Peacocke also served as a professor and lecturer during his lifetime.

 47 
Max Beauvoir
(Biochemist)
Max Beauvoir
1
Birthdate: August 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Haiti
Died: September 12, 2015
 48 
Mildred Cohn
(Biochemist)
Mildred Cohn
1
Birthdate: July 12, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 12, 2009

Apart from facing discrimination as a Russian Jew, Mildred Cohn also battled gender bias, being denied a promotion at NACA for being the only woman among the 70 staff members. Her pioneering use of NMR in the study of enzyme reactions later earned her a National Medal of Science.

 49 
Sune Bergström
(Biochemist)
Sune Bergström
1
Birthdate: January 10, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: August 15, 2004

Sune Bergström was a Swedish biochemist best remembered for winning the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine alongside John R. Vane and Bengt I. Samuelsson for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins. Over the course of his career, Sune Bergström was also honored with Columbia University's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize and the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh.

 50 
Hartmut Michel
(German Biochemist and 1988 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry)
Hartmut Michel
1
Birthdate: July 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg, Germany

Hartmut Michel is a German biochemist best known for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1988 for  determination of the first crystal structure of an integral membrane protein. A respected biochemist, Hartmut Michel also received several other prestigious awards like the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Bijvoet Medal, and the Max Delbruck Prize.