BERG, PAUL (1926– ), U.S. biochemist and Nobel laureate. Berg was born in New York and received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1948 after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was awarded a doctorate from Western Reserve University in 1952 and then studied for a year in Copenhagen with Herman Kalckar at the Institute of Cytophysiology and for a second year with arthur kornberg at Washington University in St. Louis, where he stayed until 1959, when he moved to Stanford Medical School. In 1960 he was appointed professor of biochemistry at Stanford. Gradually making a transition from classical biochemistry to molecular biology, Berg's interests shifted from studies with microorganisms to mammalian cells, and he spent a year experimenting with Polyoma and SV40 tumor viruses in mammalian cell culture at the Salk Institute. He served as chairman of Stanford's Department of Biochemistry from 1969 to 1974, in 1970 being appointed Willson Professor there. From 1973 to 1983 he was a non-resident fellow of the Salk Institute. He served as director of Stanford University's Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine from 1985 to 2000 and from 1994 to 2000 as Cahill Professor in Biochemistry and Cancer Research. From 2000 he was Cahill Professor in Biochemistry, Emeritus, and director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, Emeritus. In the course of his career Berg succeeded in developing a general way to join two DNAs together in vitro, work that led to the emergence of recombinant DNA technology, a major tool for analyzing mammalian gene structure and function. This was the basis of his being awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry. That same year he received the Albert Lasker Award for basic research, along with Dr. stanley n. cohen and Dr. Dale A. Kaiser, fellow Stanford University researchers, and Dr. Herbert W. Boyer of the University of California in San Francisco. They were cited for their work in manipulating the genetic material in cells. Berg is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science (member of the council since 1979), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society of Biological Chemists (president, 1974–1975), and the American Society of Microbiology. He is an honorary member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of the Russian Federal Republic (1991) and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, London (1992). His most recent appointments include chairman of the National Advisory Committee to the Human Genome Project, chairman of the board of the National Foundation for Biomedical Research, member of the advisory panel to the Human Genome Education Program, and member of the NAS-CSIS Roundtable on Biotechnology and Bioterrorism. (Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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