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.
Nettie Stevens was an American geneticist. She is credited with discovering sex chromosomes which later came to be known as the X and Y chromosomes. In 1994, Nettie Stevens was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Barbara McClintock was a scientist and cytogeneticist who received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in botany from Cornell University and began her lifelong work in the development of maize cytogenetics. She eventually gained recognition as among the best in the field and was honored with several prestigious awards.
American physician-geneticist Francis Collins is known for his discovery of the genes related with several diseases and for leading the Human Genome Project while serving as director of NHGRI. Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science, Collins wrote the New York Times bestseller The Language of God and presently serves as director of the NIH.
Thomas Hunt Morgan was an evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and embryologist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933. He worked extensively on the role that the chromosome plays in heredity and demonstrated that genes are carried on chromosomes. In his later career, he established the division of biology at the California Institute of Technology.
Luther Burbank was an American horticulturist and botanist. A pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank developed over 800 varieties of plants and strains in an illustrious career that spanned 55 years. He is also credited with developing a spineless cactus that served as cattle feed. In 1986, Luther Burbank was made an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Best known for his theory of Price Equation, American population geneticist, George R. Price, worked as a chemist for more than two decades before shifting to theoretical biology. On reading W.D. Hamilton's paper on kin selection, he eventually started working on it, in the process devising what is today known as Price Equation and also introducing the evolutionarily stable strategy.
Theodosius Dobzhansky was a Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist. He played a key role in shaping modern synthesis in the field of evolutionary biology. His 1937 book, Genetics and the Origin of Species, is a seminal work on modern synthesis. He was the recipient of several awards, including the US National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal.
Joshua Lederberg was an American molecular biologist best remembered for his work in the field of artificial intelligence, microbial genetics, and the US space program. In 1958, Lederberg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine when he was just 33; he won the prize for discovering bacterial conjugation. In 2006, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Nobel Prize-winning German geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller is best remembered for his work on mutation and the effects of radiation on genes. His contributions include his book The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity, which is a classic text in the subject. He was named the 1963 Humanist of the Year.
Mario Capecchi is a molecular geneticist who received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans. They received the prize for discovering a method to create a knockout mouse, a genetically modified mouse in which a certain gene is turned off for experimental purposes. In 2001, Capecchi received the National Medal of Science.
Massimo Pigliucci is an academician currently serving as a professor of philosophy at the City College of New York. A staunch critic of pseudoscience and creationism, he advocates for secularism and science education. He was once the co-host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast. He often writes on topics, such as climate change denial, pseudoscience, intelligent design, and philosophy.
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.
Jeffrey C. Hall is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as Brandeis University's Professor Emeritus of Biology. He is credited with conducting extensive research on the behavior and neurology of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), which revealed certain mechanisms of the circadian clocks. He received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Rosbash and Michael Young.
15 Eric Topol
Renowned American cardiologist Eric Topol is the founder-director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. He is known for his pathbreaking research on genes that can be targeted for the prevention of heart diseases. He was also one of the first to question the safety factor of the medicine Vioxx.
Nobel Prize-winning Canadian-American biochemist and geneticist Jack W. Szostak revolutionized medical science with his research on the manipulation of genes. The Cornell alumnus is credited with creating the first yeast artificial chromosome. He has also taught at the Harvard Medical School. In spite of being Polish, he doesn’t speak the language.
Michael Rosbash is an American chronobiologist and geneticist, currently serving as a researcher and professor at Brandeis University. In 2017, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of the controlling mechanisms of the circadian cycle. Rosbash has also received many other awards like the Massry Prize.
Michael W. Young is a biologist and geneticist. He has spent several years studying genetically controlled patterns of sleep and wakefulness within the fly species Drosophila melanogaster. Along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash, he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His wife, Laurel Eckhardt, is also a biologist and the couple often collaborates professionally.
American biochemist and Nobel laureate Marshall W. Nirenberg is best known for his research on solving the genetic code. The son of a Jewish shirtmaker father, Nirenberg showed an early interest in biology. He led the National Heart Institute’s genetics department and was associated with the National Institutes of Health.
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.
Francisco J. Ayala is a Spanish-born American evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist, best known for his investigation on the process of genetic variation and natural selection at molecular level. He also undertook research on public health, providing new ideas on the prevention and treatment of diseases and expounded how Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-matched to religious theory of creation.
Nobel Prize-winning biologist Alfred Day Hershey is best remembered for his research on bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. He was associated with the Washington University throughout most of his life. He is also known for his blender experiment, which he conducted with his work partner Martha Chase.
Virologist Howard Martin Temin won his Nobel Prize for co-discovering the enzyme reverse transcriptase. His initial research was in the area of animal cancers, as he was also a PhD in animal virology from Caltech. He spent almost his entire academic career teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Renowned population geneticist Spencer Wells is best known for his study of human diversity. His analysis has led him to believe that all humans have descended from a single man from Africa, the Y-chromosomal Adam, who lived around 60,000-90,000 years back. He has also headed National Geographic’s Genographic Project.
Nobel Prize-winning physician Baruch Samuel Blumberg is best remembered for his research on the antigen-antibody reaction. His study of an antibody response against hepatitis B helped later scientists develop a vaccine for the disease. He died soon after delivering a speech at the NASA Ames Research Center.
27 Andrew Fire
Geneticist Andrew Fire is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning work on the double-stranded RNA. The MIT alumnus did most of his research under the guidance of Nobel laureate Philip A. Sharp. His discovery of the RNAi later aided scientists work on the cure for ailments such as AIDS and cancer.
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.
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.
Immunologist Bruce Beutler is best known for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the innate immune system of the human body. The son of a scientist and physician, he was a child prodigy and graduated at age 18. He grew up to be associated with institutes such as the Scripps Research Institute.
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.
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.
Walter Sutton was an American physician and geneticist best remembered for his Boveri-Sutton chromosome theory, which is widely regarded as one of the most important contributions to present-day biology. Walter Sutton is also credited with improving several medical and surgical practices, such as anesthetic techniques.
Edward B. Lewis was an American geneticist who helped found evolutionary developmental biology, a field that compares the developmental processes of various organisms. In 1995, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Eric Wieschaus and Christine Nüsslein-Volhard. He also won several other prestigious awards like the National Medal of Science and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize.
Alfred Sturtevant was an American geneticist. He is credited with constructing a chromosome's first genetic map in 1911. Throughout his career, Sturtevant did extensive research on Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) and his research on the Drosophila genome allowed other geneticists to map chromosomes of higher organisms like human beings. Alfred Sturtevant received the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1967.
George Wells Beadle was an American geneticist who served as the president of the University of Chicago from 1961 until his retirement. In 1958, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the role played by genes in controlling the biochemical events within cells. George Wells Beadle also won other awards like the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal.
Edmund Beecher Wilson was an American geneticist and zoologist. He is credited with writing a textbook titled The Cell which is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important books in modern biology. Regarded as America's first cell biologist, Wilson is also credited with discovering the XY sex-determination system which is used to classify several mammals, including humans.
Michael S. Brown is an American geneticist who received the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His research on cholesterol metabolism along with Joseph L. Goldstein paved the way for the development of statin drugs, which are used today by 16 million Americans. For his contributions to medicine, Brown was honored with the National Medal of Science in 1988.
39 Janet Rowley
Janet Rowley was an American geneticist. In 1972, Rowley became the first scientist to discover a chromosomal translocation, which she identified as the cause of various forms of cancers, proving that cancer is a genetic disease. Rowley won prestigious awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2017, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
G. Ledyard Stebbins was an American geneticist and botanist. He is considered one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. Stebbins is credited with writing Variation and Evolution in Plants, which describes plant speciation and is considered his most important publication. For his contributions to science, G. Ledyard Stebbins received many awards including the prestigious National Medal of Science.
Victor A. McKusick was an American medical geneticist and internist. Widely regarded as the father of medical genetics, McKusick was an ardent supporter of the mapping of the human genome. A celebrated geneticist, Victor A. McKusick won many prestigious awards including the Benjamin Franklin Medal for his contribution to science.
42 Curt Richter
Curt Richter is best remembered for his pioneering study on biorhythms. Born to a German immigrant engineer, Richter initially studied engineering but later switched to biology and then psychology. He later taught psychobiology and also worked on concepts such as the biological clock and circadian rhythms.
Calvin Bridges was an American scientist best remembered for his work in the field of genetics. Bridges was part of the famous Fly Room experiments along with other popular scientists like H.J. Muller and Alfred Sturtevant. The experiments were the first in a series of other experiments that conducted research on Drosophila melanogaster.
Maclyn McCarty was an American geneticist who became the first person to illustrate that genes were made of DNA. McCarty served as the Rockefeller University Hospital's physician-in-chief for 14 years. He also served as the vice president and a trusted adviser of Rockefeller University.
American geneticist Edward Lawrie Tatum worked with George Beadle and demonstrated that genes control individual steps in metabolism. This led them to win half of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1958. Tatum and Beadle conducted key experiments and proposed the one gene, one enzyme hypothesis where they suggested a direct link between genes and enzymatic reactions.
George D. Snell was an American basic transplant immunologist and mouse geneticist. In 1980, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Jean Dausset and Baruj Benacerraf. In 1978, Snell was honored with the William B. Coley Award for his research in immunology.
Richard Goldschmidt was a geneticist best remembered for becoming the first person to attempt to integrate evolution, genetics, and development. He pioneered understanding of genetic assimilation, reaction norms, sex determination, dynamical genetics, and heterochrony. He is also credited with describing a nematode's nervous system.
Although he is best known for demonstrating the colinearity of gene and protein structures, American geneticist Charles Yanofsky also had many other contributions to make. Spending the major part of his career at Stanford University, he helped to establish the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis, also making immense contribution to the mechanism of suppression and attenuation of expression of bacterial operons.
Geneticist James V. Neel is known for his extensive research on genetic epidemiology and often studied sickle-cell disease and thalassemia. He also studied the effect of ionizing radiation on the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He had also penned several books and over 600 scientific articles.