Nobel laureate & President, California Institute of Technology
David Baltimore is one of the world's most influential biologists. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, he has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator, and public advocate for science and engineering. He has been the president of the California Institute of Technology since 1997.
For almost 30 years, Baltimore was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he investigated the molecular processes underlying the ability of the poliovirus to infect cells. This led him to work on other RNA viruses and then to consider how cancer-causing RNA viruses manage to infect and permanently alter a healthy cell. He has published more than 600 peer-reviewed articles, and his work has contributed widely to the understanding of cancer, AIDS, and the molecular basis of the immune response.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Baltimore has also received the National Medal of Science and numerous other awards. He is a member of several learned societies in the U.S. and around the world. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University, where he also served as president and a member of the faculty.
© 2006 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.