Photo of Marvin H. Caruthers

Marvin H. Caruthers

  • National Medal of Science
  • Chemistry

For his work in developing robust methods for the chemical synthesis of DNA, which has enabled genetic engineering of new biopharmaceuticals, forensic DNA fingerprinting,” and the human genome project.”

Marvin H. Caruthers is a biotechnology innovator and leader in the field of chemistry. He made the DNA synthesis scientists use today possible.

Caruthers is credited with developing the methodology used in chemically synthesizing DNA, and have been further incorporated into “gene machines,” which help scientists analyzing DNA.

His research focus in acid chemistry and biochemistry includes studying regulation and control of gene expression.

“That chemistry — which was not the first, there were earlier versions — allowed us to put together synthetic DNA very rapidly, so that we could synthesize a piece of DNA in about three or four hours,” he said of his research. “The previous chemistries required months.”

“I sort of enjoy playing both games,” he said of working in both research and the private sector.. “Sometimes the activities involved almost become unreal in terms of travel schedules and keeping up with everything.”

By Christine Ayala