|Died||17 March 1994 94)(aged|
|Citizenship||Germany, United Kingdom|
|Awards||Darwin Medal 1976|
Charlotte "Lotte" Auerbach FRS FRSE (14 May 1899 – 17 March 1994) was a German-Jewish geneticist who contributed to founding the science of mutagenesis. She became well known after 1942 when she discovered with A. J. Clark and J. M. Robson that mustard gas could cause mutations in fruit flies. She wrote 91 scientific papers, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Society of London.
The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society is the United Kingdom's and Commonwealth of Nations' Academy of Sciences and fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.
A geneticist is a biologist who studies genetics, the science of genes, heredity, and variation of organisms.
In 1976, she was awarded the Royal Society's Darwin Medal. Aside her scientific contributions and love of science, she was remarkable in many other ways, including her wide interests, independence, modesty, and transparent honesty.
The Darwin Medal is awarded by the Royal Society every alternate year for "work of acknowledged distinction in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked, notably in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity". First awarded in 1890, it was created in memory of Charles Darwin and is presented with a £2000 prize.
Charlotte Auerbach was born in Krefeld in Germany, the daughter of Selma Sachs and Friedrich Auerbach.She may have been influenced by the scientists in her family: her father Friedrich Auerbach (1870-1925) was a chemist, her uncle a physicist, and her grandfather, the anatomist Leopold Auerbach.
Krefeld, also known as Crefeld until 1929, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located northwest of Düsseldorf, its centre lying just a few kilometres to the west of the river Rhine; the borough of Uerdingen is situated directly on the Rhine. Krefeld is accessed by the autobahns A57 (Cologne–Nijmegen) and the A44 (Aachen–Düsseldorf–Dortmund–Kassel).
Friedrich Auerbach was a German chemist. He was the son of anatomist Leopold Auerbach and the brother of physicist Felix Auerbach. He was the father of geneticist Charlotte Auerbach.
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms. Chemists carefully measure substance proportions, reaction rates, and other chemical properties. The word 'chemist' is also used to address Pharmacists in Commonwealth English.
She studied biology and chemistry at the universities of Würzburg, Freiburg and Berlin.She was taught and inspired by Karl Haider and Max Hartmann in Berlin, and later in Würzburg by Hans Kniep. After very good examinations in biology, chemistry, and physics, she initially decided to become a secondary-school teacher of science, passing the exams for that, with distinction in 1924.
The Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg is a public research university in Würzburg, Germany. The University of Würzburg is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Germany, having been founded in 1402. The university initially had a brief run and was closed in 1415. It was reopened in 1582 on the initiative of Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn. Today, the university is named for Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn and Maximilian Joseph.
The University of Freiburg, officially the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, is a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The university was founded in 1457 by the Habsburg dynasty as the second university in Austrian-Habsburg territory after the University of Vienna. Today, Freiburg is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, with a long tradition of teaching the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The university is made up of 11 faculties and attracts students from across Germany as well as from over 120 other countries. Foreign students constitute about 18.2% of total student numbers.
Karl Johannes Kniep was a German botanist who was a native of Jena.
She taught in Heidelberg (1924-1925) and briefly at the University of Frankfurt, from which she was dismissed - probably because she was Jewish. In 1928 she started postgraduate research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology (Berlin-Dahlem) in Developmental Physiology under Otto Mangold. In 1929 she abandoned her work with Mangold: he would later join the Nazi party, and Auerbach found his dictatorial manner unpleasant. In reply to her suggestion to change direction of her project, he replied "You are my student, you do as I say. What you think is of no consequence!".
Goethe University Frankfurt is a university located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded in 1914 as a citizens' university, which means it was founded and funded by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt. The original name was Universität Frankfurt am Main. In 1932, the university's name was extended in honour of one of the most famous native sons of Frankfurt, the poet, philosopher and writer/dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The university currently has around 45,000 students, distributed across four major campuses within the city.
She again taught biology in several schools in Berlin - until the Nazi party ended this by law as she was Jewish.Following her mother's advice, she left the country in 1933 and fled to Edinburgh where she got her PhD in 1935 at the Institute of Animal Genetics in the University of Edinburgh. She would stay affiliated to this Institute throughout her whole career.
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.
Auerbach's PhD dissertation was on the development of legs in Drosophila .After her dissertation she became a personal assistant to Francis Albert Eley Crew, who connected her to the lively group of scientists he had assembled, and to invited scientists including Julian Huxley, J.B.S. Haldane, and most importantly to Lotte, to Hermann Joseph Muller. The famous geneticist and mutation researcher stayed in Edinburgh 1938-1940 and introduced her to mutation research.
Initially, she refused to work with Muller when Crew told her to do so. Muller, however, who was present when she opposed her boss, assured her that he would only want to work with people who are interested in the projects. But since she was interested in how genes operate, Muller noted that to understand this it would be important to understand what happens if the genes are mutated - this convinced her.She said herself "His enthusiasm for mutation research was infectious and from that day on I switched to mutation research. I have never regretted it."
Auerbach's genetic mutation research remained unpublished for many years because the work with mustard gas was considered classified by the government. She was finally able to publish in 1947.
After being an assistant instructor in animal genetics, Auerbach became a lecturer in 1947, Professor of Genetics in 1967 and ended her professional career as a Professor Emeritus in 1969.
While she found teaching at the schools sometimes difficult, she enjoyed teaching at the University and her lectures were models of clarity, usually delivered without any notes. She spoke with authority, but she did not mind questions, and allowed time for discussions.
She wrote several books to teach genetics, several of them were translated in other languages. Her book, Genetics in the Atomic Age (1956) was praised by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for her excellent explanations of "an inherently technical matter."
She supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), was a fierce opponent of apartheid, and a confirmed liberal.In 1947, she published a book of fairy stories titled Adventures with Rosalind under the pen-name of Charlotte Austen.
Charlotte was an only child, born into a third-generation Jewish family who had lived for several generations in Breslau. Having fled Nazi Germany in 1933, she became a naturalised British citizen in 1939.
Auerbach never married and had no children of her own. She unofficially 'adopted' two boys. One, Michael Avern, was the child of a German-speaking companion to her own elderly mother, who had escaped to Britain as well. She helped to raise Michael. The other, Angelo Alecci, came from a poor Sicilian family and the Save the Children Fund connected Charlotte with him.
In 1989, aged 90, she gave her house in Edinburgh to Michael Avern and moved into the Abbeyfield Home in Polwarth Terrace, Edinburgh, which was operated by the church. She died there five years later, in 1994. She was cremated at Mortonhall Crematorium.
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The greatest reward for herself however was the telegram her hero Hermann Joseph Muller sent after their first striking mutant results in June 1941, which read: "We are thrilled by your major discovery opening great theoretical and practical field. Congratulations."
A room in the Royal Society of Edinburgh's building on George Street, Edinburgh is named for her.
There is a street named Charlotte-Auerbach-Straße in Stuhr-Brinkum.One of the streets in the Kings Buildings university complex in Edinburgh is named Charlotte Auerbach Road in her honour.
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Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927. There she started her career as the leader in the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life. From the late 1920s, McClintock studied chromosomes and how they change during reproduction in maize. She developed the technique for visualizing maize chromosomes and used microscopic analysis to demonstrate many fundamental genetic ideas. One of those ideas was the notion of genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis—a mechanism by which chromosomes exchange information. She produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits. She demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere, regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information. She was recognized as among the best in the field, awarded prestigious fellowships, and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1944.
George Wells Beadle was an American geneticist. In 1958 he shared one-half of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edward Tatum for their discovery of the role of genes in regulating biochemical events within cells.
Neurospora crassa is a type of red bread mold of the phylum Ascomycota. The genus name, meaning "nerve spore" in Greek, refers to the characteristic striations on the spores. The first published account of this fungus was from an infestation of French bakeries in 1843.
Conrad Hal Waddington CBE FRS FRSE was a British developmental biologist, paleontologist, geneticist, embryologist and philosopher who laid the foundations for systems biology, epigenetics, and evolutionary developmental biology.
Seymour Benzer was an American physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist. His career began during the molecular biology revolution of the 1950s, and he eventually rose to prominence in the fields of molecular and behavioral genetics. He led a productive genetics research lab both at Purdue University and as the James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology.
Mary Frances Lyon was an English geneticist, best known for her discovery of X-chromosome inactivation, an important biological phenomenon.
Brian Charlesworth is a British evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh, and editor of Biology Letters. Since 1997, he has been Royal Society Research Professor at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IEB) in Edinburgh.
James Franklin Crow was Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a prominent population geneticist whose career spanned from the modern synthesis to the genomic era.
Gerald Mayer Rubin is an American biologist, notable for pioneering the use of transposable P elements in genetics, and for leading the public project to sequence the Drosophila melanogaster genome. Related to his genomics work, Rubin's lab is notable for development of genetic and genomics tools and studies of signal transduction and gene regulation. Rubin also serves as a Vice President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Executive Director of the Janelia Research Campus.
John Michael 'Rab' Rabinovich, later known as Prof John Michael Robson FRSE FRCS FRCSE LLD (1900–1982) was a geneticist and physicist who co-founded the science of mutagenesis by mutations in fruit flies exposed to mustard gas.
Dame Ottoline Leyser is a British plant biologist and Professor of Plant Development at the University of Cambridge and director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge.
Trudy Frances Charlene Mackay is the director of Clemson University's Center for Human Genetics located on the campus of the Greenwood (S.C.) Genetic Center. She is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the genetics of complex traits. Mackay is also the Self Family Chair in Human Genetics and Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at Clemson University.
Laurence Daniel Hurst FMedSci FRS is a Professor of Evolutionary Genetics in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath and the director of the Milner Centre for Evolution.
Norbert Perrimon is a geneticist and developmental biologist at Harvard Medical School. He is known for developing a number of techniques for use of Drosophila, as well as specific substantive contributions to signal transduction and developmental biology. Perrimon co-developed the GAL4/UAS system method, described as “a fly geneticist's Swiss army knife”, with Andrea Brand to control gene expression. With Tze-bin Chou he developed the FLP-FRT DFS method to analyze the maternal effect of zygotic lethal mutations. With Jianquan Ni, he developed and improved methods for in vivo RNAi. His lab has pioneered high-throughput whole-genome RNAi screening.
Mutagenesis in the laboratory is an important technique whereby DNA mutations are deliberately engineered to produce mutant genes, proteins, strains of bacteria, or other genetically modified organisms. Various constituents of a gene, such as its control elements and its gene product, may be mutated so that the functioning of a gene or protein can be examined in detail. The mutation may also produce mutant proteins with interesting properties, or enhanced or novel functions that may be of commercial use. Mutant strains may also be produced that have practical application or allow the molecular basis of particular cell function to be investigated.
Elizabeth (Liz) Jane Robertson FRS is a British developmental biologist based at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford. She is Professor of Developmental Biology at Oxford and a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow. She is best known for her pioneering work in developmental genetics, showing that genetic mutations could be introduced into the mouse germ line by using genetically altered embryonic stem cells. This discovery opened up a major field of experimentation for biologists and clinicians.
Joanne Chory is an American plant biologist and geneticist. Chory is a professor and director of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She holds the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology. She is also an adjunct professor in the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, UC San Diego.
Peter D. Keightley FRS is Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.
Allan Balmain FRS is Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professor of Cancer Genetics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Dr Artur Jurand FRSE was a Polish-born animal geneticist who did important work at the University of Edinburgh in the later 20th century. He anglicised his name to Arthur Jurand once settled in Scotland.