Hamilton Smith, M. D., is a microbiologist, distinguished professor and scientific director of Synthetic Biology & Bioenergy at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in San Diego, California. He earned a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1952 and a M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1956. He interned at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and completed a Medical Residency at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. From 1962 to 1967 he did a fellowship in the Human Genetics department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 1967 to 1998 he was Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
He is co-credited with discovering Hindll, the first type II restriction enzyme and his work with DNA methylases and bacterial host restriction. He went on to earn, with Werner Arber and Daniel Nathans, a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for their work on type II restriction enzymes.
His later work has focused on genomics. He contributed to the first sequencing of a bacterial genome, and was instrumental in the mapping of the human genome. While working with the J. Craig Venter Institute, he has worked on the creation of partially synthetic life.
Most recently, Smith has been focusing on better understanding the genetic requirements for minimal bacterial life, as well as the mechanism of DNA cassette insertional mutagenesis in yeast.
Featured in Top Influential Biologists Today
Public research university in Berkeley, California, United Statesview profile
Public research university in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, United Statesview profile
University in Baltimore, Maryland, United Statesview profile