Friday, December 08, 2006

Passing of a Legend - Esther Lederberg

The New York Times ran an obituary today for Esther Lederberg, who passed away on November 11. Dr. Lederberg was one of the giants of microbiology and her research was the precursor for multiple Nobel Prizes and laid the groundwork for much of the molecular biology revolution. Among her many amazing pieces of work:
  • The isolation of lambda phage, a virus that infects the bacterium E. coli. This virus has been used as a model system for studying the molecular basis of life.
  • She and her husband invented replica plating, a method that revolutionized bacterial genetics.
Amazingly to me, and thanks to Pubmed Central and the American Society of Microbiology, her replica plating paper is available for free online here.

All microbiologists out there should read this paper and should say thanks for the work of a true giant in the field.

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