George Pearson Smith (born 10 March 1941) is an American biologist and Nobel laureate. He is a Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, US.
George Pearson Smith
10 March 1941
Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.
|Known for||Phage displays|
|Awards||2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry|
|Thesis||The variation and adaptive expression of antibodies. (1970)|
|Doctoral advisor||Edgar Haber|
Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, he earned his A.B. degree from Haverford College in biology, was a high school teacher and lab technician for a year, and earned his PhD degree in bacteriology and immunology from Harvard University. He was a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin (with future Nobel laureate Oliver Smithies) before moving to Columbia, Missouri and joining the University of Missouri faculty in 1975. He spent the 1983–1984 academic year at Duke University with Robert Webster where he began the work that led to him being awarded a Nobel Prize.
He is best known for phage display, a technique where a specific protein sequence is artificially inserted into the coat protein gene of a bacteriophage, causing the protein to be expressed on the outside of the bacteriophage. Smith first described the technique in 1985 when he displayed peptides on filamentous phage by fusing the peptide of interest onto gene III of filamentous phage. He was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work, sharing his prize with Greg Winter and Frances Arnold.
Smith is an advocate for equal rights for Palestinians and Israeli Jews in their common homeland, and a strong supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. On the topic of religion, Smith is quoted as saying "I'm not religious or Jewish by birth. But my wife is Jewish and our sons are bar-mitzvahed, and I'm very engaged with Jewish culture and politics."
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