The role of women in biotechnology

Often hidden from view, women have played a major role in the development of biotechnology and medicine. Indeed, women have been at the cutting edge of biotechnology, including Rosalind Franklin who played a fundamental role in deciphering the structure of DNA; Esther Lederberg who discovered the lambda phage which is now a major tool for studying gene regulation and genetic recombination; Margaret Dayhoff who developed the field of bioinformatics; Janet Mertz who created the first piece of recombinant DNA; and Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier who helped pioneer CRISPR, a revolutionary technique for genome editing.

Here we provide a number of profiles of women who have been key pioneers in biotechnology. These profiles have been compiled as part of an ongoing project to highlight the many contributions women have made to biotechnology. This is a work in progress and we welcome suggestions for other women to be included.

Some of the leading women in biotechnology

Don't hesitate to contact us if you think of other women who have played an important role in the development of biotechnology and who are not here.

Brigitte Askonas (1923 - 2013)

Born: Vienna, Austria. Askonas co-developed one of the first systems for the cloning of antibody-forming B cells in vivo, some of the earliest monoclonal antibodies. She was also one of the first scientists to isolate and clone virus specific T lymphocytes, laying the foundation for defining different influenza sub-sets and improving vaccines. (Photo credit: Anne-Katrin Purkiss, Wellcome Images B0007461).

Margaret Dayhoff (1925 - 1983)

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Dayhoff is known as the founder of bioinformatics. This she did by pioneering the application of mathematics and computational techniques to the sequencing of proteins and nucleic acids and establishing the first publicly available database for research in the area. (Photo credit: Ruth E Dayhoff, National Library of Medicine).

Jennifer Doudna (1964)

Born: Washington DC, United States. Doudna first made her name uncovering the basic structure and function of the first ribozyme, a type of catalytic ribonucleic acid (RNA) that helps catalyse chemical reactions. This work helped lay the foundation for her later helping to pioneer CRISPR-Cas 9, a tool that has provided the means to edit genes on an unprecedented scale and at minimal cost. In addition to her scientific contributions to CRISPR, Doudna is known for spearheading the public debate to consider the ethical implications of using CRISPR-Cas9 to edit human embryos.

Rosalind Franklin (1920 - 1958)

Born: London, United Kingdom. Rosalind Franklin was an x-ray crystallographer whose work helped uncover the double-helix structure of DNA. (Photo credit: Vittorio Luzzati).

Esther Lederberg (1922 - 2006)

Born: Bronx, New York, United States. Esther Lederberg was a major pioneer of bacterial genetics. She discovered the lambda phage, a bacterial virus which is widely used as a tool to study gene regulation and genetic recombination. She also invented the replica plating technique, which is used to isolate and analyse bacterial mutants and track antibiotic resistance. (Photo credit: The Esther Lederberg Memorial Trust).

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909 - 2012)

Born: Turin, Italy. An Italian scientist, Rita Levi-Montalcini helped discover the chemical tools the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerves. This knowledge underpins current investigation into how these processes go wrong in diseases like dementia and cancer. (Photo credit: Bernard Becker Medical Library).

Janet Mertz (1949)

Born: The Bronx, New York, USA. Mertz was pivotal to the discovery of the first enzyme for easily joining together DNA from different species and designing the protocol that underpinned the development of the first recombinant DNA cloned in bacteria. Her work not only helped lay the foundation for the development of genetic engineering, but also spurred on the establishment of the first safety guidelines for laboratories involved in genetic manipulation. She has also made key contributions to our understanding about how the human tumour viruses SV40, hepatitis B virus, and Epstein-Barr virus regulate expression of their genes and identified roles oestrogen-related receptors play in breast cancer and responses to therapies. (Photo credit: Janet Mertz).

Rosemary Versteegen (1948)

Born: Glasgow, Scotland. Rosemary J Versteegen worked for over twenty years with Life Technologies Inc, which in the 1990s was one of largest suppliers of culture cell products and other scientific reagents to the biotechnology industry. She was pivotal to the company’s success in winning FDA approval for the first diagnostic test using synthetic nucleic acid probes for detecting infection with the human papillomavirus, one of the most common causes of cervical cancer. In addition, Versteegen is one of the co-founders and the Chief Executive Officer of the International Serum Industry Association, an organisation that works to promote standards of excellence and ethics in the animal serum and animal derived products industry.

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi (1947)

Born: Paris, France. Barre-Sinoussi shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for helping to identify the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS in 1983. Over the years she has made substantial contributions to understanding the role of innate immune defences in the host in controlling HIV/AIDS and how HIV is transmitted between the mother and child. She has also studied the characteristics that allow some HIV-positive individuals gain resistance to HIV without antiretrioviral drugs. (Photo credit: Karolinska Institute, Press conference, 2008).

Elizabeth Blackburn (1948)

Born: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Blackburn is a molecular biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009. She is best known for having discovered a particular repetative sequence of DNA on the telomere, a particular region found at the end of a chromosome that prevents the chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other. She also helped identify telomerase, an enzyme that helps replenish telomeres which get shorter every time a cell divides. Such shortening is associated with aging and cancer. (Photo credit: Chemical Heritage Foundation).

Gertrude Elion (1918 - 1999)

Born: New York City, United States. Elion shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her contributions to the development of a multitude of new drugs. This included drugs for herpes, leukemia, malaria, gout, immune disorders, and AIDS, and immune suppressants to overcome rejection of donated organs in transplant surgery. Her work earned 45 patents. (Photo credit: Wellcome Images).

Carol Greider (1961)

Born: San Diego, California, United States. Greider shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for helping to elucidate the structure of telomeres, a particular region found at the end of a chromosome that prevents the chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other, and to identify telomerase, an enzyme that helps replenish telomeres which get shorter every time a cell divides. Such shortening is associated with aging and cancer. She also collaborated in the development of the first telomerase knockout mouse which helped demonstrate how premature aging is linked to increasingly short telomeres. (Photo credit: Keith Weller).

Beverly Griffin (1930 - 2016)

Born: Dehli, Louisiana. Griffin completed the first DNA sequence of the polyomavirus in 1980. Known to cause cancer in mice, the virus was the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced for the time. She also cloned the first DNA fragments from the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which provided the starting point for its sequencing, completed in 1984. For the remainder of her career Beverly was devoted to understanding how in one setting EBV could cause glandular fever, a largely harmless disease, and yet in another Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly killer in Central Africa. (Photo credit: Tomas Lindahl).

Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer (1953)

Born: Vienna, Austria. Hochmair-Desoyer is an electrical engineer who helped create the world's first micro-electric multi-channel cochlear implant. Developed in 1977 the implant enables the user to not only hear sounds but also to understand speech. Since 2000 she has co-founded a number of medical device companies working to help with hearing loss. In 2013 she was awarded the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. (Photo credit: Ingeborg J Hochmair-Desoyer).

Dorothy Hodgkin (1910 - 1994)

Born: Cairo, Egypt. Dorothy Hodgkin, was a British biochemist who developed protein crystallography and X-ray crystallography which was used to confirm the structure of penicillin, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. (Photo credit: Peter Lofts Photography, National Portrait Gallery, London Peter Lofts Photography, National Portrait Gallery, London ).

Mary-Claire King (1946)

Born: Illinois, United States. King is a human geneticist who studies the interplay between genetics and the environment on human disease. She is best known for having identified BRCA1, a single gene responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers. Her technique for identifying the BRCA1 gene is now used for studying many other diseases. She was also responsible for the development of a technique, using mitrochondial DNA and human leukocyte antigen, for genetically identifying the remains of missing people. (Photo credit: Mary-Claire King).

Barbara McClintock (1902 - 1992)

Born: Hartford, Connecticut, United States. Through her work on maize, McClintock demonstrated the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome. (Photo credit: American Philosophical Society).

Sherie Morrison

Born: United States. A key pioneer in the development of antibody engineering techniques, Morrison helped develop some of the first chimeric monoclonal antibodies. This work paved the way to the creation of safer and more effective monoclonal antibody drugs. (Photo credit: Sherie Morrison).

May-Britt Moser (1963)

Born: Fosnavag, Norway. Moser shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for helping to discover cells located in the centre of the brain that are important for determining spacial position. Her work has helped scientists gain new understanding into the cognitive processes and spacial deficits linked to neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease. (Photo credit: NBC News).

Evelyn Witkin (1921)

Born: New York City, United States. Witkin is an American geneticist who is best known for her work on DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair. She helped elucidate the first co-ordinated stress response. This she did studying the response of bacteria to UV radiation. Witkins was one of the first few women to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, in 1977 and in 2002 was awarded the National Medal of Science. (Photo credit: YouTube).

Rosalyn Yalow (1921 - 2011)

Born: New York City, United States. The second American woman to ever be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, Yalow is best known for having co-developed a diagnostic technique, known as a radioimmunoassay, for measuring tiny quantities of various biological samples in blood and other bodily fluids. The test's primary detection mechanism is an antibody combined with a radioisotope. First devised for determining insulin levels in diabetes patients, the technique is now used for hundreds of other substances previously difficult to detect because they were too small. Among the substances it can quantify are hormones, vitamins, enzymes. It is also used to measure the effectiveness of dose levels of antibiotics and other drugs. (Photo credit: US Information Agency).

Tu Youyou (1930)

Born: Zhejiang, China. Tu Youyou is a Chinese chemist who discovered artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, used to treat malaria. YouYou received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with William Campbell and Satoshi Omura. Youyou is the first Chinese Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and the first female citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive a Nobel Prize in any category. (Photo credit: Bengt Nyman).

Women in biotechnology: timeline of key events

Curie won two Nobel Prizes, one in 1903 and another in 1911 for pioneering the study of radioactivity.1867-11-07T00:00:00+0000McClintock was the first to discover that genes could shift to different locations by themselves. 1902-06-16T00:00:00+0000Levi-Montalcini shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering nerve growth factors.1909-04-22T00:00:00+0000Dorothy Hodgkin, was a British biochemist who developed protein crystallography and X-ray crystallography which was used to confirm the structure of penicillin, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964.1910-05-10T00:00:00+0000Shankman was the first to describe how a healthy cell changes into a cancerous cell. Her work helped transform cervical cancer into an easily diagnosed and treatable condition. She also demonstrated the links between the herpes simplex virus and cervical cancer and between cervical cancer and the oral contraceptive pill.1915-09-19T00:00:00+0000Chatterjee was renowned for her breakthroughs in the development of anti-epileptic and anti-malarial drugs. 1917-09-23T00:00:00+0000Elion shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 'discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.'1918-01-23T00:00:00+0000Franklin was a biophysicist who developed the first x-ray crystalography photograph establishing the double helix structure of DNA. Both Watson and Crick used her photograph to establish their model of DNA for which they won the Nobel Prize. 1920-07-25T00:00:00+0000Witkin is best known for her work on DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair. She helped elucidate the first co-ordinated stress response. This she did studying the response of bacteria to UV radiation. Witkins was one of the first few women to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, in 1977. She was also awarded the National Medal of Science in 2002. 1921-03-09T00:00:00+0000 Yalow shared the 1977 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the development of radioimmunoassay diagnostic tests to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. 1921-07-19T00:00:00+0000Lederberg was a major pioneer of bacterial genetics. She discovered the lambda phage and invented the replica plating technique. 1922-12-18T00:00:00+0000Askonas co-developed one of the first systems for the cloning of antibody-forming B cells in vivo, some of the earliest monoclonal antibodies. She was also one of the first scientists to isolate and clone virus specific T lymphocytes, laying the foundation for defining different influenza sub-sets and improving vaccines. 1923-04-01T00:00:00+0000Dayhoff is known as the founder of bioinformatics. This she did by pioneering the application of mathematics and computational techniques to the sequencing of proteins and nucleic acids and establishing the first publicly available database for research in the area. 1925-03-11T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a major pioneer in the DNA sequencing field and research into the Epstein-Barr virus1930-01-23T00:00:00+0000Youyou discovered artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, used to treat malaria for which she received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She is the first female citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive a Nobel Prize.1930-12-30T00:00:00+0000Curie won two Nobel Prizes, one in 1903 and another in 1911 for pioneering the study of radioactivity.1934-07-04T00:00:00+0000King is a human geneticist who studies the interplay between genetics and the environment on human disease. She is best known for having identified BRCA1, a single gene responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers. Her technique for identifying the BRCA1 gene is now used for studying many other diseases. She was also responsible for the development of a technique, using mitrochondial DNA and human leucocyte antigen, for genetically identifying the remains of missing people. 1946-02-27T00:00:00+0000Barré-Sinoussi shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 for the discovery of HIV.1947-07-30T00:00:00+0000Noted by Salvador Luria and his graduate student Mary Human while conducting experiments into the break-up of DNA in phage-infected bateria.1952-01-01T00:00:00+0000Known as Photo 51, this image was shown, without Franklin's permission, to James Watson, who, together with Francis Crick, used it to develop the double-helix model of DNA.1952-01-03T00:00:00+0000Hochmair-Desoyer is an electrical engineer who helped create the world's first micro-electric multi-channel cochlear implant. Developed in 1977 the implant enables the user to not only hear sounds but also to understand speech. Since 2000 she has co-founded a number of medical device companies working to help with hearing loss. In 2013 she was awarded the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. 1953-01-01T00:00:00+0000Rosalind Franklin publishes Photo 51 in a joint paper with Raymond Gosling in Nature.1953-04-01T00:00:00+0000Irène Joliot-Curie, daughter of Marie Curie, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 for her work on radioactive isotopes which today form the basis of much biomedical research and cancer treatment today. 1956-03-17T00:00:00+0000Franklin was a British biophysicist who developed the first x-ray crystalography photograph establishing the double helix structure of DNA. Both Watson and Crick used her photograph to establish their model of DNA for which they won the Nobel Prize. 1958-04-16T00:00:00+0000Greider shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.'1961-04-15T00:00:00+0000Lorraine Kraus incubated bone marrow cells from a patient with sickle-cell anaemia with DNA from healthy donor. L.M. Kraus, ‘Formation of different haemoglobins in tissue culture of human bone marrow treated with human deoxyribonucleic acid’, Nature, 4807 (1961) 1055-57. 1961-12-16T00:00:00+0000Werner Arber, Swiss microbiologist and geneticist, and his doctoral student Daisy Dussoix propose bacteria produce restriction and modification enzymes to counter invading viruses. 1962-01-01T00:00:00+0000Book contains all protein sequences known to-date. It is the result of a collective effort to co-ordinate the ever-growing amount of information about protein sequences and their biochemical function. 1965-01-01T00:00:00+0000Brigette Askonas, a Canadian biochemist, Alan Williamson, a British immunologist, and Brian Wright clone B cells in vivo using spleen cells from mice immunised with haptenated carrier antigen.1970-01-01T00:00:00+0000This was done in Dale Kaiser's laboratory by Douglas Berg together with Janet Mertz and David Jackson1971-01-01T00:00:00+0000Robert Pollack contacted Paul Berg to raise concerns about the potential biohazards of experiments his doctoral research plans to do involving the introduction of genes from the oncovirus SV40 in the human gut bacteria, E-Coli. Following this Berg self-imposed a moratorium on experiments in his laboratory involving the cloning of SV40 in E-Coli. 1971-06-01T00:00:00+0000Kathleen Danna and Daniel Nathans, PNAS, 68/12 (1971), 2913-17.1971-12-01T00:00:00+0000Janet Mertz and Ronald Davis publish an easy-to-use technique for constructing recombinant DNA. 1972-11-01T00:00:00+0000The identity of the blood stem cell, especially that in the human, and even its existence remains the subject of debate because the cell is difficult to isolate. Those involved in the debate include the Manchester group (Dexter, Lord) and American groups Weissmann and Morrison. Part of the problem is that techniques for studying the human blood stem cell lagged behind that of animal models. 1980-01-01T00:00:00+0000Shankman, a Canadian born pathologist, was the first to describe how a healthy cell changes into a cancerous cell. Her work helped transform cervical cancer into an easily diagnosed and treatable condition. She also demonstrated the links between the herpes simplex virus and cervical cancer and between cervical cancer and the oral contraceptive pill.1980-08-18T00:00:00+0000The database was developed by Margaret Dayhoff, an American physical chemist, for storing nucleic acid sequences. It was a sophisticated on-line computer database that was accessible by telephone to outside users.1980-09-01T00:00:00+0000Database was started by Margaret Dayhoff at the NBRF in the mid 1960s and comprised over 200,000 residues. Within a month of its operation more than 100 scientists had requested access to the database. The database was funded with contributions from m Genex, Merck, Eli Lilly, DuPont, Hoffman–La Roche, and Upjohn, and computer time donated by Pfizer Medical Systems.1980-09-01T00:00:00+0000Dayhoff is known as the founder of bioinformatics. This she did by pioneering the application of mathematics and computational techniques to the sequencing of proteins and nucleic acids and establishing the first publicly available database for research in the area. 1983-02-05T00:00:00+0000Two teams of scientists publish methods for the generation of chimeric monoclonal antibodies, that is antibodies possessing genes that are half-human and half mouse. Each team had developed their techniques separate from each other. The first team was lead by Michael Neuberger together with Terence Rabbitts and other colleagues at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. The second team consisted of Sherie Morrison and colleagues at Stanford University together with Gabrielle Boulianne and others at the University of Toronto. 1984-12-01T00:00:00+0000McClintock was the first to discover that genes could shift to different locations by themselves. 1992-09-02T00:00:00+0000Dorothy Hodgkin, was a British biochemist who developed protein crystallography and X-ray crystallography which was used to confirm the structure of penicillin, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964.1994-07-27T00:00:00+0000Hodgkin won the 1964 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her contributions to the development of protein crystallography. She used the technique to determine the structure of many important biochemicals such as penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin. 1994-07-29T00:00:00+0000The belief that adult stem cells, especially the blood stem cell, can give rise to cells such as brain, liver and cardiac gives rise to notion that adult stem cells could be used like embryonic counterparts for regenerative therapies, helping in degenerative diseases of the brain and heart. This marks a paradigm shift as it goes against dogma from decades of research and clinical success with the blood stem cell. 1996-01-01T00:00:00+0000Elion shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 'discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.'1999-02-21T00:00:00+0000Lederberg was a major pioneer of bacterial genetics. She discovered the lambda phage and invented the replica plating technique. 2006-11-11T00:00:00+0000Chatterjee is renowned for her breakthroughs in the development of anti-malarial and anti-epileptic drugs.2006-11-22T00:00:00+0000Yalow was an American medical physicist who shared the 1977 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the development of radioimmunoassay diagnostic tests to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. 2011-05-30T00:00:00+0000The patent was submitted by Jennifer Doudna, at the University of California Berkeley, and Emmanuell Charpentier, at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany. The application was for a patent to cover the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing in vitro.2012-05-25T00:00:00+0000M Jinek, K Chylinski, I Fonfara, M Hauer, J A Doudna, E Charpentier, 'A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity', Science, 337/6096 (2012): 816-21.2012-08-17T00:00:00+0000Levi-Montalcini shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering nerve growth factors.2012-12-30T00:00:00+0000Askonas co-developed one of the first systems for the cloning of antibody-forming B cells in vivo, some of the earliest monoclonal antibodies. She was also one of the first scientists to isolate and clone virus specific T lymphocytes, laying the foundation for defining different influenza sub-sets and improving vaccines. 2013-01-09T00:00:00+00002015-10-05T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a major pioneer in the DNA sequencing field and research into the Epstein-Barr virus2016-06-13T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
7 Nov 1867Marie Curie, nee Sklodowska, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911, was born in Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland)CurieWarsaw
16 Jun 1902Barbara McClintock was born in Hartford CT, USAMcClintockUniversity of Missouri
22 Apr 1909Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Turin, ItalyLevi-MontalciniInstitute of Cell Biology of the CNR
10 May 1910Dorothy M Crowfoot Hodgkin was born in Cairo, EgyptHodgkinCairo, Egypt
19 Sep 1915Elizabeth S Shankman was born in Cobalt, Ontario, CanadaShankmanUniversity of California at Los Angeles
23 Sep 1917Asima Chatterjee was born in Bengal, IndiaChatterjeeUniversity of Calcutta
23 Jan 1918Gertrude B Elion was born in New York NY, USAElionWellcome Research Laboratories
25 Jul 1920Rosalind E Franklin was born in London, United KingdomFranklinKings College London
9 Mar 1921Evelyn Witkin was born in New York City, USAWitkinNew York City
19 Jul 1921Rosalyn Yalow was born in New York NY, USAYalowVeterans Administration Hospital
18 Dec 1922Esther Lederberg was born in Bronx, New York, USALederbergWisconsin University
1 Apr 1923Brigitte Askonas was born in Vienna, AustriaAskonasVienna
11 Mar 1925Margaret Dayhoff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USADayhoffPhiladelphia
23 Jan 1930Beverly Griffin was born in Dehli, Louisiana, USAGriffinImperial College
30 Dec 1930Tu Youyou was born in Zhejiang, ChinaYouyouZhejiang
4 Jul 1934Marie Curie diedCurie 
27 Feb 1946Mary-Claire King was born in Illinois, USAKingIllinois
30 Jul 1947Francoise Barré-Sinoussi born in Paris, FranceBarre-SinoussiParis, France
1952First observation of the modification of viruses by bacteriaLuria, HumanUniversity of Illinois
January 1952X-ray diffraction image, produced by Rosalind Franklin, shows DNA to have regularly repeating helical structureFranklinKings College London
1 Jan 1953Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer was born in Vienna, AustriaHochmair-DesoyerVienna, Austria
April 1953Franklin's x-ray image of DNA publishedFranklinKings College London
17 Mar 1956Irène Joliot-Curie diedCurie 
16 Apr 1958Rosalind E Franklin diedFranklinKings College London
15 Apr 1961Carol W Greider was born in San Diego CA, USAGreiderJohns Hopkins University
16 Dec 1961First successful direct incorporation of functional DNA in human cellKrausUniversity of Tennessee
1962Concept of restriction and modification enzymes bornArber, DussoixUniversity of Geneva
1965Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure publishedDayhoffNational Biomedical Research Foundation
1970 - 1972Means developed for cloning B cells that produce single antibodies with known specificityAskonas, Williamson, WrightNational Institute for Medical Research
1971First plasmid bacterial cloning vector constructedBerg, Mertz, JacksonStanford University
June 1971First time potential biohazards of recombinant DNA raisedMertz, Berg, PollackStanford University
December 1971First experiments published demonstrating the use of restriction enzymes to cut DNADanna, NathansJohns Hopkins University
November 1972First easy-to-use technique published for constucting recombinant DNA. J. Mertz, R. Davis, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 69/11, pp. 2270-74.Berg, MertzStanford University Medical School
1980 - 1990Existence of the blood stem cell is debatedDexter, Lord, Weissmann, Morrison
18 Aug 1980Elizabeth Stern Shankman diedShankmanUniversity of California at Los Angeles
September 1980First DNA sequence database createdDayhoffNational Biomedical Research Foundation
1980Largest nucleic acid sequence database in the world made available free over telephone networkDayhoffNational Biomedical Research Foundation
5 Feb 1983Margaret Dayhoff died in Silver Spring, Maryland, USADayhoffSilver Spring, Maryland
1984First chimeric monoclonal antibodies developed which lays foundation for safer and more effective monoclonal antibody therapeuticsNeuberger, Rabbitts, Morrison, Oi, Herzenberg, Boulianne, Schulman, HozumiLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Stanford Univerity Medical School
2 Sep 1992Barbara McClintock diedMcClintockUniversity of Missouri
27 Jul 1994Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin diedHodgkinShipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, UK
29 Jul 1994Dorothy M Crowfoot Hodgkin diedHodgkinOxford University
1996First reports that blood stem cell might be able to give rise to cells other than those of the blood systemBlau, Lagasse, Lemischka, Morrison, Thiese, Krause, Gussoni, Bjornson 
21 Feb 1999Gertrude B Elion diedElionWellcome Research Laboratories
11 Nov 2006Esther Lederberg diedLederbergWisconsin University
22 Nov 2006Asima Chatterjee, an Indian organic chemist, diedChatterjeeUniversity of Calcutta
30 May 2011Rosalyn Yalow diedYalowVeterans Administration Hospital
May 2012First patent application submitted for CRISPR-Cas 9 technologyDoudna, CharpentierUniversity of California Berkeley, University of Vienna
August 2012A group of scientists based at Howard Hughes Medical Institute published a radically new gene editing method that harnessed the CRISPR-Cas9 system Jinek, Chylinski, Fonfara, Hauer, Doudna, CharpentierUniversity of California Berkeley
30 Dec 2012Rita Levi-Montalcini diedLevi-MontalciniInstitute of Cell Biology of the CNR
9 Jan 2013Brigitte Askonas died in London, United KingdomAskonasLondon, United Kingdom
5 Oct 2015Tu Youyou awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of artemisinin, a treatment for malariaYouyou 
13 Jun 2016Beverly Griffin diedGriffinImperial College