Smith, Hamilton O.

Smith, Hamilton O. (Othanel)

(1931–  ) molecular biologist; born in New York City. He performed research at the University of Michigan (1962–67), then joined Johns Hopkins (1967). In the 1970s he obtained enzymes from bacteria that would split genes to give genetically active fragments; these "restriction enzymes" allowed the possibility of new kinds of genetic engineering, as well as providing a tool for DNA sequencing. For this work he shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology with his associate Daniel Nathans and Swiss molecular biologist Werner Arber. Smith continued to investigate restriction enzymes and their interactions with DNA.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.