He was also the best speaker at the commencement. Intelligent, entertaining, relevant and memorable.
Smithies' career has been a series of visionary innovations that have impacted medical science. His work in genetics have earned him many major international awards and recognition. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1971, just 11 years after beginning his appointment as a Madison faculty member. He most recently was honored with a Nobel Prize in 2007. He donated the proceeds from that prize to the academic institutions that fostered his work, including UW-Madison.
His discovery of targeting specific mouse genes enabled the production of "designer mice" with genetic models of many human diseases. Scientists today can't remember research before "knock-out" mouse strains were invented. This groundbreaking discovery advanced research in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, to name just a few. His research will benefit humanity for many years to come, paving the way for improving the human condition.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
We just got back from Madison, Wisconsin, where a friend of ours graduated from medical school. As a bonus we got to see Dr. Oliver Smithies receive an Honorary Degree and speak at the commencement. The excerpt below barely begins to describe this remarkable man: