About Har Gobind Khorana

Prof. Hargobind Khorana (January 9, 1922 - November 9, 2011), born in Raipur, in the Punjab region of undivided India was the youngest of the five children of Shri Ganput Rai Khorana and Smt Krishna Devi Khorana. Prof. Khorana attended D. A. V. High School in Multan (now in Pakistan). After receiving his Bachelor of Science (1943) and Master's degree (1945) from Punjab University in Lahore, India, he was awarded a Government of India Fellowship, which enabled him to study at Liverpool University, England, where he earned his Ph. D. in 1948. From 1948 to 1949, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland, with Professor Vladimir Prelog, who had a major influence on his life-long approach to science.

In 1952, Prof. Khorana joined the University of British Columbia where he worked on phosphate esters, nucleic acids and chemical synthesis of ribotrinucleotides for protein synthesis. Following this, in 1960, Prof. Khorana joined the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin where he worked on nucleotide synthesis and unveiling the genetic code. Prof. Khorana was associated with the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology as the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert W. Holley and Marshall W. Nirenberg in 1968 for the findings associated to the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. Prof. Khorana was also the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, highest Presidential Award from India in 1972. He was the first scientist to chemically synthesize oligonucleotides. He pioneered many techniques that allow scientists to interpret the genetic code and show how ribonucleic acid (RNA) can be related to the structure of proteins. Prof. Khorana's work has opened up new paradigm of research in biology known as genetic engineering. Prof. Khorana also has made significant contributions to the understanding of genetics and biochemistry of the visual pigment known as rhodopsin.

Awards & Honours

Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Foreign member of USSR Academy of Sciences (1971)
Honorary Fellow of the Indian Chemical Society (1974)
Honorary Degrees from numerous universities, including:
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada; University of Liverpool, England; Panjab University, India; University of Delhi, India; Calcutta University, India; University of Chicago; and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology in 1968,
Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1968,
Padma Vibhushan in 1969,
J C Bose Medal in 1972,
Gairdner Foundation International Award in 1980,
National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences in 1987.
Also awarded with several other awards like the Merck Award from the ChemicalInstitute of Canada,
the Dannie-Heinneman Prize, and the American Chemical Society
Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the Ellis Island Medal of
Honor, the National Medal of Science, and the Paul Kayser International Award of Merit
in Retina Research.
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