Werner Arber

Werner Arber Werner Arber is a Swiss microbiologist and geneticist. Along with American researchers Hamilton Smith and Daniel Nathans, Werner Arber shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of restriction endonucleases. Their work would lead to the development of recombinant DNA technology.Werner Arber studied chemistry and physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich from 1949 to 1953. Late in 1953 he took an assistantship for electron microscopy at the University of Geneva, in time left the electron microscope, went on to research bacteriophages and write his dissertation on defective lambda prophage mutants. He received his doctorate in 1958 from the University of Geneva. Arber then worked at the University of Southern California in phage genetics with Gio ("Joe") Bertani starting in the summer of 1958. Back at the University of Geneva, Arber worked in a laboratory in the basement of the Physics Institute, where he carried out productive research and hosted "a number of first class graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and senior scientists”. In 1965 the University of Geneva promoted him to Extraordinary Professor for Molecular Genetics. In 1971, after spending a year as a visiting professor in the Department of Molecular Biology of the University of California in Berkeley, Arber moved to the University of Basel. In Basel, he was one of the first persons to work in the newly-constructed Biozentrum, which housed the departments of biophysics, biochemistry, microbiology, structural biology, cell biology and pharmacology and was thus conducive to interdisciplinary research. Highlight of Arber's research at the University of Basel was the various molecular mechanisms of spontaneous genetic variation in microorganisms, i.e. the driving force of biological evolution.