Oliver Smithies, British-American geneticist, Died at 91


Oliver Smithies was born on June 23, 1925, in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, and died on January 10, 2017.

He was a British-born American geneticist and Nobel laureate.

Oliver Smithies was credited with the introduction of starch as a medium for gel electrophoresis in 1955, and the simultaneous discovery, with Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA, a much more reliable method of altering animal genomes than previously used, and the technique behind gene targeting and knockout mice.

He graduated First class with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physiology in 1946 and then earned a second bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

Oliver Smithies also received a Master of Arts degree 1951 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry in 1951 at Balliol College, Oxford.

After he had received a scholarship to Oxford, Smithies dropped out of medical school to study chemistry instead.

He was a naturalized American citizen, and, despite being color-blind, is a licensed private airplane pilot who enjoys gliding.

Smithies’ wife, Nobuyo Maeda, is a pathology professor at University of North Carolina.

Oliver Smithies was previously married to Lois Kitze, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin.

Oliver Smithies passed away at 91 years old.