David Baltimore

Baltimore, David (bôlˈtĭmôr) [key], 1938–, American microbiologist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Rockefeller Univ., 1964. He conducted (1965–68) virology research at the Salk Institute before becoming a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. In 1970 he and his wife Alice Huang discovered reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that allows RNA to synthesize DNA in retroviruses. He shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Renato Dulbecco and Howard Temin for his experimental confirmation of the connection between certain RNA viruses and cancer.

Appointed president of Rockefeller Univ. in 1990, he resigned the next year after a scientific fraud scandal. A paper he coauthored was said to contain fraudulent data from another author, Dr. Thereza Imanishi-Kari, and Baltimore was criticized for his vehement defense of the paper despite the evidence. In 1996, an appeals panel overturned the verdict of the original investigating office, the federal Office of Scientific Integrity (now the Office of Reasearch Integrity), and Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari were exonerated. In 1997 Baltimore was appointed president of the California Institute of Technology.

See D. J. Kevles, The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character (1998).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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