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Robert W. Holley

Robert W. HolleyAKA Robert William Holley

Born: 28-Jan-1922
Birthplace: Urbana, IL
Died: 11-Feb-1993
Location of death: Los Gatos, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Lung

Gender: Male
Religion: Unitarian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: RNA's role in protein synthesis

For unraveling the genetic code of ribonucleic acid (RNA), American biochemist Robert W. Holley was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1968, along with H. Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg. During World War II, working for the United States Office of Research and Development as part of the war effort, he was part of the team at Cornell that first synthesized penicillin. After winning his Nobel honors, Holley went on to study the molecular factors that control growth and multiplication of cells, research which added greatly to the scientific understanding of cancer. Ironically, it was lung cancer that killed him. His wife, Ann Dworkin Holley, was also a chemist, and they frequently collaborated on scientific papers.

Father: Charles Elmer Holley (teacher)
Mother: Viola Esther Wolfe Holley (teacher, b. 1893, d. 1980)
Brother: Charles Elmer Holley Jr. (worked at Los Alamos Nat'l Lab, b. 20-May-1917, d. 2003)
Brother: Frank Holley (bank executive, b. 1920, d. 31-Aug-2001)
Wife: Ann Lenore Dworkin Holley (math teacher, b. 29-Apr-1925, m. 29-Apr-1945, d. 17-Feb-1996)
Son: Frederick Owen Holley (physician)

    High School: Urbana High School, Urbana, IL (1938)
    University: BS Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1942)
    University: PhD Organic Chemistry, Cornell University (1947)
    Scholar: Biochemistry, Washington State University (1947-48)
    Teacher: Chemistry, Cornell University (1948-62)
    Scholar: Biology, California Institute of Technology (1955-56)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Cornell University (1962-64)
    Professor: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cornell University (1964-93)
    Professor: Molecular Biology, Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1966-93)
    Professor: Molecular Biology, University of California at San Diego (1971-93)

    Guggenheim Fellowship 1955
    Lasker Award 1965
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1968 (with H. Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg)
    American Chemical Society Fellowship (1947-48)
    US Agriculture Department 1958-62
    Salk Institute for Biological Studies 1965-93
    National Science Foundation Fellowship (1966-67)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Cancer Society
    American Chemical Society
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    National Academy of Sciences
    Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity

Author of books:
The Nucleotide Sequence of a Nucleic Acid (1966)

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