El Salvador Luria
El Salvador Edward Luria (born the August 13rd 1912, deceased the February 6th 1991) was an Italian microbiologist then American, whose work pioneers on the Phage S contributed to the birth of the Molecular biology. With max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, Luria was rewarded in 1969 by the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine.
Youth in EuropeLuria was born Salvatore Luria in Turin, in Italy in an influential Jewish family. In 1935, it is graduate medical school of Turin. As from 1936-37, Luria made its military service in the Italian army as an officer doctor. It followed then courses of Radiologie to the university of Rome. There, it took note of the theories of max Delbrück on genes as a molecule and started to establish methods to test the genetic theory using bacteriophages, the viruses infecting the bacteria.
In 1938, it receives a purse to study in the United States, where it intended to work with Delbrück. Shortly after that Luria receives this purse, the mode faschist of Benito Mussolini banishes the Jews of the research grants. Without resources to work with the the United States or in Italy, Luria leaves the country for Paris in 1938. When the armies Nazi are German invade the France in 1940, Luria flees with Bicyclette until Marseilles, where it receives a visa of immigration for the USA.
Research with the Phage SLuria arrives at New York on September 12th, 1940 and quickly it changes its first and second first name. With the assistance of the physicist Enrico Fermi, whom he knew at the university of Rome, Luria receives a purse of the Fondation Rockefeller with universté of Columbia. It meets quickly Delbrück and Hershey, with which it begins experiments at the laboratory of Cold Spring Harbor and at the laboratory of Delbrück at the university of Vanderbilt.
The famous experiment with Delbrück in 1943, known under the expression of Experiment of Delbrück and Luria, showed by a study Statistique that the genetic evolution in the bacteria follows rather the principles of Darwin than of Lamarck and than the random appearance of mutant bacteria could confer a resistance to a Virus even if this one is not present. The idea that the natural selection affects the bacteria affected deep the manner of apprehending the virulence of the microbes, as for example to explain how the bacteria develop resistances to the Antibiotique S.
From 1943 to 1950, he works at the university of Indiana. Its first postgraduate student is certain a James D. Watson, who will be later at the origin of discovered structure of DNA with, inter alia, Francis Crick.
In January 1947, Luria obtains the American naturalization.
In 1950, Luria leaves for the University the Illinois to Urbana-Champaign. While seeking to know how the bacteria could defend themselves against phages, he discovers that specific lines of bacteria produce enzymes able to cut the DNA on the level of certain specific sequences. These enzymes took the name of enzymes of restriction and became today one of the principal tools of the Molecular biology.
Later workIn 1959, he becomes off professor of Microbiologie to the Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT). He changes his objectives of research then, while passing from the Phage S with the cellular membranes and with the Bactériocine S. Lasting the year 1963, he works with the Institut Pasteur of Paris, and shows that the Bactériocine S deteriorate the functions of the cellular membranes. Of return to MIT, its laboratory discovers that the bactériocines cause this deterioration by forming holes in the membrane, which causes exchanges of ions, and destroys the electrochemical Gradient of the cell. In 1972, he becomes professor at the research center on the Cancer of MIT. The department where it is established includes then futures Nobel Prize: David Baltimore, Susumu Tonegawa, Phillip Al Sharp and H. Robert Horvitz.
In addition to this Nobel Prize, Luria accepted a certain number of prices and distinctions. It was named member of the Academy of Science of the United States in 1960. From 1968 to 1969, he was president of the american company of microbiology. He received the National Book Award in 1974 for a popular autobiography: the Unfinished Experiment . He receives also the national medal of science in 1991.
Concurrently to its scientific career, Luria was a burning defender of political causes. It joined Linus Pauling in 1957 to protest against the tests of nuclear weapons. It was adverse with the Guerre of Vietnam and it gave its support for the trade unions of workmen. In the years 1970, it was engaged in the debates on the genetic engineering, defending a moderated position, including a monitoring and a regulation, rather than from the extreme points of view: a complete prohibition or a total freedom in this scientific discipline. Because of these political positions, it was isolated possibility of receiving off funds of the National Institutes Health (NIH) for one short period in 1969.
Luria was famous opposing trees of evolution based on the molecular Phylogénie developed by Carl Woese. This design of the history of the evolution, now accepted by the whole of the biologists, and amply shown by the genetics, was indeed vigorously fought at its beginnings. This clear opposition of Luria to this méhode is a regrétable black spot in a differently exemplary scientific career.
He dies in Lexington in the Massachusetts of a Heart attack.
- Experiment of Delbrück and Luria
Its biography on the site '' Nobelprize.org ''
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