Werner Arber Biography
(Microbiologist & Geneticist)
Birthday: June 3, 1929 (Gemini)
Born In: Gränichen, Aarau, Aargau, Switzerland
Werner Arber is a Swiss microbiologist and a geneticist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the discovery of the process by which enzymes could be used to break down the DNA molecules into smaller fragments without losing their inherent characteristics and could then be studied easily. He shared the prize with two other American scientists named Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Othanel Smith who collaborated with him in the experiments. His main research involved enzymes present in bacteria that have been infected by a virus and how the enzymes change the DNA of the virus to protect the bacteria. He had initially started out as an assistant in a biophysics laboratory who was required to maintain electron microscopes in proper working condition. During his job he was also required to prepare biological samples to be viewed under the microscope by other researchers. While doing this job he grew familiar with the fundamental aspects of genetics and ‘bacteriophage physiology’ and became interested in a totally new field of research on ‘bacteriophage’. The opportunity made Arber give up his job involving electron microscopy and change over to research in genetics which became a passion with him over the years.