Daniel Nathans Shares in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Medicine
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Daniel Nathans Shares in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Medicine

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Dr. Daniel Nathans, 49, director of the microbiology department at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore since 1972, is one of three scientists to share the 1978 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Nathans, who became the second American Jew to win a Nobel Prize this year, shares the award with Swiss microbiology Prof. Wemer Arben of Basel, and Hamilton O. Smith, also of Johns Hopkins. The award of $140,000 is for their enzyme genetical research. Last week, Isaac Bashevis Singer, the renowned Yiddish writer, was awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Among Nathans’ numerous distinctions as a scientist was his selection by the American Cancer Society in 1969 to be a scholar in the Department of Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Nathans, who is on the editorial boards of two medical journals, and has been a leader in research on biology and virology for a generation, was chairman of the American Cancer Society committee on cell biology and virology and on the advisory committee of the National Cancer Institute’s virus cancer program. He was awarded the Selman Waksman Award for microbiology in 1967 and is member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Nathans, born in Wilmington, Del., was graduated from the University of Delaware and received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis four years later. He joined Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor in 1962. He and his wife, Joanne Gomberg Nathans, have three sons, ranging in age from 15 to 21.

Nathans was the youngest of eight children born to Samuel and Sarah Nathans who emigrated from Russia before World War I. His father first had a grocery store and then worked in a leather factory. Dr. and Mrs. Nathans are members of Temple Emanuel in Baltimore. “He is very well informed on the Middle East and very concerned for Israel’s future,” Mrs. Nathans told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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