Thursday, November 30, 2006

Esther Lederberg (1922-2006)

Microbiologist Esther Miriam Zimmer Lederberg died on November 11, 2006. From her obituary in the LA Times:

She discovered the lambda phage, a parasite of bacteria that became a key tool for the laboratory study of viruses and genetics, and was the co-developer with her husband of replica plating, a technique for rapid screening of bacteria for desired mutations.

"She developed lab procedures that all of us have used in research," said cancer researcher Stanley Falkow of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

She was also a pioneer of women's rights, becoming a full professor at a time when women were rare on the faculties of Stanford and other major universities. "She was a real legend," said Dr. Lucy Tompkins of Stanford.

Related links:

Aetiology: Microbiology Pioneer Dies