Delbrück, Max Ludwig Henning
, 1906-1981, American biophysicist, b. Berlin, Germany. Ph.D, Univ. of Göttingen, 1930. He spent most of his career as a professor at the California Institute of Technology. Delbrück was co-recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Alfred D. Hershey
and Salvador E. Luria
. The three were cited for their discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and genetic structure of viruses. Working independently but collaboratively beginning in 1940, the three researchers used bacteriophages
, viruses that invade bacteria and cause their disintegration, to study such fundamental life processes as self-replication and mutation. Delbrück is credited with discovering an unanticipated genetic interaction between viruses infecting the same cell, subsequently identified as genetic recombination
. The work done by Delbrück, Hershey and Luria played a significant role in the subsequent development of the disciplines of molecular biology and virology.
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