Har Gobind Khorana

Born: 1/9/1922
Birthplace: Raipur, India (now Pakistan)

Har Gobind Khorana grew up as a member of one of the few literate families in his tiny village. His father insisted upon educating his children, and Khorana eventually earned an M.S. from Punjab University and his Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool in England. In 1952 he traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he began working on nucleic acids. Eight years later he moved on to the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin before finally settling, in 1970, as the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry at M.I.T. Khorana, Robert Holley, and Marshall Nirenberg received the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.” Khorana's role was to devise the methods that led to the synthesis of well-defined nucleic acids, ultimately leading to the solution of the genetic code.