Har Gobind Khorana

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Har Gobind Khorana

Khorana recieved his early schooling from his village teacher under a tree,advanced his education through scholarships and fellowships to become an authority on the chemical synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, the large molecules in cells that carry genetic information.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

He recieved the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert W Holley and Marshall W.Nirenberg of the National Institutes of Health. They worked independently of one another and received the award for showing how genetic information is translated into proteins, which carry out the functions of a living cell.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

In 1976 he announced that he had gotten an artificial gene to function in a bacterial cell. The ability to synthesize DNA was central to advances in genetic engineering and the development of the biotechnology industry.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

Khorana's lab also turned out leaders in academia and industry. One of his students Michael Smith, was a recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for devising a method of manipulating DNA.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

His aptitude for science was evident from the start. He recieved a scholarship to study chemistry at Punjab University, although he had been too shy to attend the required admissions interview.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

After earning a doctorate in organic chemistry from Liverpool University in England in 1948,he spent a year doing postdoctoral research at the Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland, where he secretly took up residence in a lab until some financing came through.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

Khorana married Esther Sibler whom he had met in Switzerland. He once said that she brough "a consistent sense of purpose" into his life. His wife died in 2001.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

Among the honors Dr.Khorana received were the Lasker Award for basic medical research in 1968 and the National Medal of Science in 1987.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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Har Gobind Khorana

Shy and unassuming, Khorana was known to be uncomfortable speaking on the phone. The story goes that he had to be tracked down after several calls and messages from the White House went unattended. That was 1987, and Khorana was being approached by the highest office in the United States to be informed that he had won the prestigious National Medal of Science.

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Har Gobind Khorana
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