Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Hershko shared the 2004 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for discovering the ubiquitin protein. The protein attaches itself to unwanted proteins during cell division, helping to remove waste.1937-12-31T00:00:00+0000Baltimore shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for his work on the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. He also spearheaded efforts for the scientific governance of recombinant DNA and genome editing technologies. 1938-03-07T00:00:00+0000A biochemist and physicist, Wurtrich won the Nobel Prize in Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2002 for developing nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine the 3D structure of biological macromolecules in solution. 1938-10-04T00:00:00+0000Swedish chemists Theodor Svedberg and Arne Tiselius and the American biomedical scientist Elvin Kabat start using new biochemical techniques, notably ultracentrifugation and electrophoresis, to investigate the structure of antibodies.1939-01-01T00:00:00+0000Altman is a molecular biologist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for discovering the catalytic properties of RNA. This emerged out of some work Altman carried out between 1978 and 1983 on a bacterial enzyme called RNAs-P. His research helped transform the basic understanding of nuclear acids, which up to this moment had been understood to only carry genetic information. It also opened up the possibility of using genetic engineering to develop new forms of therapy against viral infections. 1939-05-07T00:00:00+0000Tonegawa discovered how the immune system genetically changes the body's antibodies to counter different foreign invaders.1939-09-06T00:00:00+0000Hartwell shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries of key regulators of cell cycle.'1939-10-30T00:00:00+0000Varmus shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of the origin of genes in a cell that turn normal cells into cancer cells, known as oncogenes. 1939-12-18T00:00:00+0000Linus Pauling, an American chemist, puts forward the notion of a template underlying antibody formation, echoing Ehrlich's earlier vision of antibodies and antigens working together like a lock and a key.1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000Initially supervised by Bill Pirie, and then by Albert Neuberger, in the Department of Biochemistry. Thesis: 'On the metabolism of the amino acid lysine in the animal body'. 1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000The mice were developed by George Snell. 1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000MK Barrett, 'The influence of genetic constitution upon the induction of resistance to transplantable tumors', Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 (1940), 387-93.1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000H. Ruska, 'Uber die Sichtbarmachung der bakteriophagen Lyse im Ubermikroskop', Naturwissenschaften, 28 (1940), 45–6; E. Pfankuch, GA Kausche, 'Isolierung und übermikroskopische Abbildung eines Bakteriophagen', Naturwissenschaften, 28 (1940), 46.1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000Goldstein was a biochemist who shared the 1985 Nobel Prize for Medicine with Michael S Brown for discovering how cholesterol metabolism is regulated. They worked out that human cells have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that extract cholesterol from the bloodstream. Insufficient LDL receptors are associated with familial hypercholesterolomia which heavily predisposes sufferers to cholesterol-related disease. Their work helped lay the foundation for the development of statin drugs to lower cholesterol. 1940-04-18T00:00:00+0000Harden was one of the key founders of British biochemistry. He won the 1929 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for working out the importance of two enzymes and phosphoric acid during the fermentation process. These he discovered while investigating the fermentation of sugars by bacteria, a project undertaken between 1900 and 1914 that was designed to find a way of differentiating between different groups of Escherichia coli. The work involved grinding bacteria and extracting the intracellular juices. 1940-06-17T00:00:00+0000Steitz shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for elucidating the structure and function of the ribosome.1940-08-23T00:00:00+0000A Russian-American biochemist, Levene discovered nucleic acids came in two forms: DNA and RNA. He also identified the components of DNA: adenine, guanine, thymine, cytosine, deoxyribose and a phosphate group and showed that these components were linked together by nucleotides, phosphate-sugar base units. 1940-09-06T00:00:00+0000Doherty was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996 for the discovery of the 'specificity of the cell mediated immune defence'. 1940-10-15T00:00:00+0000George Beadle and Edward Tatum, American geneticists, demonstrate that genes are responsible for the production of an enzyme. 1941-01-01T00:00:00+0000Albert Coons, an American physician and immunologist, develops the immunofluorescence technique using antibodies coupled with fluorophore. This allowed for microscopic visualisation of antibodies helping to launch the clinical disciplines of diagnostic immunofluorescence microscopy for bacteriology and immunology, immunocytology, and immunohistochemistry in anatomic pathology.1941-01-01T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
31 Dec 1937Avram Hershko was born in Karcag, HungaryHershkoKarcag, Hungary 
7 Mar 1938David Baltimore was born in New York CityBaltimoreNew York CityRecombinant DNA, Oncology, Virology, Cloning
4 Oct 1938Kurt Wuthrich was born Aarberg, SwitzerlandWuthrichSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyBiochemistry
1939Antibodies start to be investigated using quantitative immunochemistrySvedberg, Tiselius, KabatUniversity of UppsalaAntibodies
7 May 1939Sidney Altman was born in Montreal, CanadaAltmannLaboratory of Molecular BiologyRNA, genetics
6 Sep 1939Susumu Tonegawa was born in Nagoya, JapanTonegawaMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyAntibodies, Immunology
30 Oct 1939Leland H Hartwell was born in Los Angeles CA, USAHartwellFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterCell
18 Dec 1939Harold E Varmus was born in Oceanside NY, USAVarmusUniversity of California San FranciscoOncology
1940Concept of antibody templates proposedPaulingCalifornia Institute of Technology Antibodies
1940 - 1943Sanger studies for a doctorate at Cambridge UniversitySangerCambridge UniversityDNA Sequencing
1940The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances. SnellJackson LaboratoryGenetics, Immunology
1940Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissueBarrettJackson Memorial LaboratoroiesGenetics, Immunology, Oncology
1940First electron microscope pictures of bacteriophages publishedRuska Phage display
18 Apr 1940Joseph L Goldstein was born in Sumter, South Carolina, USAGoldsteinUniversity of TexasBiochemistry
17 Jun 1940Arthur Harden diedHardenLondon UniversityBiochemistry
23 Aug 1940Thomas A Steitz was born in Milwaukee WI, USASteitzYale UniversityBiochemistry
6 Sep 1940Phoebus Levene diedLevene DNA
15 Oct 1940Peter C Doherty was born in Brisbane, AustraliaDoherty St Jude Children's Research HospitalImmunology
1941Genes shown to regulate biochemical events within cellsBeadle, TatumStanford University Medical SchoolGenetics
1941Immunofluorescence technique introducedCoonsHarvard UniversityAntibodies

31 Dec 1937

Avram Hershko was born in Karcag, Hungary

7 Mar 1938

David Baltimore was born in New York City

4 Oct 1938

Kurt Wuthrich was born Aarberg, Switzerland

1939

Antibodies start to be investigated using quantitative immunochemistry

7 May 1939

Sidney Altman was born in Montreal, Canada

6 Sep 1939

Susumu Tonegawa was born in Nagoya, Japan

30 Oct 1939

Leland H Hartwell was born in Los Angeles CA, USA

18 Dec 1939

Harold E Varmus was born in Oceanside NY, USA

1940

Concept of antibody templates proposed

1940 - 1943

Sanger studies for a doctorate at Cambridge University

1940

The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances.

1940

Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissue

1940

First electron microscope pictures of bacteriophages published

18 Apr 1940

Joseph L Goldstein was born in Sumter, South Carolina, USA

17 Jun 1940

Arthur Harden died

23 Aug 1940

Thomas A Steitz was born in Milwaukee WI, USA

6 Sep 1940

Phoebus Levene died

15 Oct 1940

Peter C Doherty was born in Brisbane, Australia

1941

Genes shown to regulate biochemical events within cells

1941

Immunofluorescence technique introduced