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Jon Beckwith

Jonathan Beckwith
InstitutionsHarvard Medical School
Notable prizesAbbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award

Jonathan Beckwith is a prominent American microbiologist and geneticist. He is currently the American Cancer Society Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Beckwith led the research group that in 1969 isolated the first gene from a bacterial chromosome. Following this discovery, he has made important contributions to the study of bacterial genetics. His studies include the mechanisms of protein secretion, disulfide bond formation, and cell division. In addition, he is a prominent speaker on the social implications of science and has been an activist in science. He spoke out against the testing of boys for XYY chromosomes and was a member of the ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications) committee of the Human Genome Project initiated by James D. Watson. He has worked on issues of social responsibility in science and since 1983 has taught a course on the Social Issues in Biology at Harvard University, one of the first of its kind.

He is an editor of The Double-Edged Helix (Johns Hopkins University Press) and the author of Making Genes, Making Waves (Harvard University Press). In 2005 he received the Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Microbiology for "sustained, remarkable contributions to the microbiological sciences".

He trained with Sydney Brenner, Arthur Pardee and Francois Jacob at the Institut Pasteur in France before arriving at Harvard University. Beckwith is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


  • Memoirs of an Activist in the Embo Journal
  • Short profile of Jon Beckwith
  • Article in American Scientist Online

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jon_Beckwith". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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