Who Was Har Gobind Khorana? Google Doodle Honors Nobel Prize Winner

Jan 10, 2018, 00:44
Who Was Har Gobind Khorana? Google Doodle Honors Nobel Prize Winner

Our understanding of how genes shape us owes much to the work of Har Gobind Khorana, the Indian-American biochemist celebrated in Tuesday's Google Doodle on what would have been Khorana's 96th birthday.

His educational qualifications include serving on the faculty of the University of British Columbia from 1952-1960, where he started his research for his Nobel prize-winning work. He received the Noble Prize in 1968 for Physiology or Medicine.

Khorana was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Robert W. Holley and Marshall W. Nirenberg for "their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis" in 1968. His father, Ganpat, was an agricultural taxation clerk and put a heavy emphasis on educating his family. Today's genetic engineering's achievement would be impossible without Khorana's work.

It was at Wisconsin that he and colleagues discovered the mechanisms by which RNA codes for the synthesis of proteins. "These amino acids form proteins, which carry out essential cell function".

In 1966, Gobind Khorana became a naturalized citizen of the United States, subsequently, he received the National Medal of Science. The India-born scientist also constructed the world's first synthetic gene.

In 1970, he became a Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Dr Khorana married a Swiss national, Esther Elizabeth Sibler, who he credited with giving him "a sense of objective when he felt out of place everywhere and at home nowhere".

-Khorana died on November 9, 2011. His death was announced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a professor emeritus. The Indian government later gave Khorana a scholarship for him to do his doctoral studies in chemistry at the University of Liverpool in England. Three years later, he continued on to Switzerland for a postdoctoral year at ETH Zurich, a university known for its contributions to chemistry, physics, and mathematics. He, being a widower since 2001, was survived by his children, Julia and Davel.

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