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Herbert W. Boyer (b. 1936) is a recipient of the 1990 National Medal of Science, and co-recipient of the 1996 Lemelson-MIT Prize and a co-founder of Genentech.
Boyer received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Saint Vincent College in the Pittsburgh suburb of Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1958. He married his wife Grace the following year. He received his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 1963 and participated as an activist in the civil rights movement. He spent three years in post-graduate work at Yale University in the laboratories of Professors Edward Adelberg and Bruce Carlton, then became an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he discovered that bacteria could be combined with genes from higher organisms. In August 1978, he produced the first synthetic insulin using his new transgenic bacteria, followed in 1979 by a growth hormone.
Boyer with Robert A. Swanson founded Genentech. Genentech's approach to the first synthesis of insulin won out over Wally Gilbert's approach at Biogen which used genes from natural sources. Boyer created his gene de novo from its individual nucleotides.
In 1990, Boyer and his wife gave the single largest donation bestowed on the Yale School of Medicine by an individual. The Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine was named after the Boyer family in 1991.
At the Class of 2007 Commencement, St. Vincent College announced that they had renamed the School of Natural Science, Mathematics, and Computing the Herbert W. Boyer School. 
They Made America by Harold Evans (Little Brown, 2004) and in the subsequent WGBH television series.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Herbert_Boyer". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|