Tom Maniatis bigraphy, stories - Biologists

Tom Maniatis : biography

8 May 1943 -

Tom Maniatis (born 8 May 1943 in Denver, Colorado), is an American professor of molecular and cellular biology.

Maniatis is a graduate of the University of Colorado and one of the founders of modern molecular cloning. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University, and has received Honorary PhDs from the University of Athens and the Watson School of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Maniatis carried out postdoctoral studies with Professor Mark Ptashne at Harvard University and with Dr. Fred Sanger at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. Maniatis has held faculty positions at Harvard University, The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, and Columbia University.

As a graduate student at Vanderbilt University with Dr. Leonard Lerman, Maniatis determined the structure of highly compact DNA using wide-angle x-ray scattering methods. As a postdoctoral fellow with Mark Ptashne at Harvard University, Maniatis studied the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in bacteriophage lambda. He determined the DNA sequence of the lambda operators while working in Fred Sanger's lab at the MRC in Cambridge, England. Maniatis was appointed to the position of assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1975, but carried out his research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory because the moratorium on recombinant DNA research in Cambridge, MA prevented his work on cDNA cloning at Harvard. While the moratorium continued Maniatis moved his laboratory to the California Institute of Technology, where he pioneered the development of gene isolation methods. In 1981 Maniatis returned to Harvard where he applied molecular cloning methods to the study of the mechanisms of transcription and RNA splicing in eukaryotes. Maniatis retired from Harvard in 2009, becoming the Jeremy Knowles Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Maniatis is currently serving as the Isidore Edelman Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. His laboratory studies innate immunity, mechanisms of gene regulation in the brain, and the causes of the fatal neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

In 1982 Maniatis along with Joe Sambrook and Edward Fritsch wrote Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, which has had an enormous impact on life sciences. This laboratory manual made the newly emerging gene cloning technology accessible to a wide range of disciplines in the life sciences.

Maniatis is also a pioneer in the biotechnology industry, having cofounded Genetics Institute, Inc. in 1980, ProScript Pharma in 1994, and Acceleron Pharma in 2004. His contributions to biotechnology were recognized by the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine, Brandeis University, in 1999.

Maniatis' research contributions have been recognized by numerous awards including the 1981 Eli Lilly Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology from the American Society of Microbiology, the 1985 Richard Lounsbery Award for Biology and the 1998 Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research, the 2000 AMA Scientific Achievement Award, the 2001 Pasarow Award in Cancer Research from the Pasarow Foundation and the 2012 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. Maniatis was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985.

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