Michael Smith (Chemist) Biography
Birthday: April 26, 1932 (Taurus)
Born In: Blackpool, England
Michael Smith was a British-born Canadian biochemist who won a share of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in developing site-directed mutagenesis. His work enabled researchers to introduce specific mutations into genes and paved the way to study gene therapy approaches for cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell disease, and hemophilia, among other applications. Born in England into a family of humble means, he grew up to be a good student and was able to continue his school education beyond a certain level because of a scholarship. He went to the prestigious Arnold School where he developed an interest in chemistry. As a young boy he also witnessed the devastation and loss of lives caused by the World War II even though his family lived in a relatively safe place. After his schooling he was able to procure another scholarship and entered the chemistry honors program at the University of Manchester. Eventually he completed his PhD under the supervision of H.B. Henbes. He then moved to Canada to begin his postdoctoral research with Har Gobind Khorana at the British Columbia Research Council in Vancouver. It was in the 1970s that he, along with his colleagues began the breakthrough research in DNA sequence that ultimately earned him the Nobel Prize.