Paul Berg has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Award, and many other international prizes for research that laid the groundwork in recombinant DNA technology and the biotechnology revolution that followed. A biochemist, Dr. Berg was one of the principal pioneers in gene splicing. He shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for developing methods that made it possible to map the structure and function of DNA. According to The New York Times, his work has had a revolutionary impact on the understanding of the genetics of all living things and on the ability to manipulate the genetic material of cells from any species.
Dr. Berg’s role in articulating social and political policy related to genetics has been nearly as influential as his scientific research. In 1975 he led the scientific community’s self-imposed moratorium on recombinant DNA experimentation to allow researchers time to assess the potential risk factors in this area. He also served as chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Human Genome Project.
Dr. Berg’s contributions to science and society will be presented by Lucy Shapiro, The Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Developmental Biology, who has won many awards for her own research in the area of molecular biology and microbiology.