Joshua Lederberg

Joshua Lederberg

Joshua Lederberg was born in Montclair NJ, near New York, the son of Rabbi Zwi H. and Esther Goldenbaum Lederberg, recently emigrated from Israel, on May 23 1925. He was educated in New York. After a period of study at Columbia P&S medical school, where he began his life-long research in molecular biology, he received his Ph.D. in microbiology at Yale. Then he served as professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin, then at Stanford School of Medicine, before coming to the Rockefeller in 1978. His life long research, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1958 (at the age of 33), has been in genetic structure and function in microorganisms. He has been actively involved in artificial intelligence research (in computer science) and in the NASA experimental programs seeking life on Mars. He has also been a consultant on health-related matters for government and the international community, e.g. having had long service on WHO’s Advisory Health Research Council. He received the US National Medal of Science in 1989, where his consultative role was specifically cited. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1957, and a charter member of its Institute of Medicine, has served as Chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel, and of the Congress’ Technology Assessment Advisory Council, as well as on numerous other consultative panels. From 1978 to 1990, he served as president of the Rockefeller University. He continues his research activities there in the field of interactions of gene functionality and mutagenesis in bacteria. His current station there is Sackler Foundation scholar and professor-emeritus of molecular genetics and informatics. His wife Marguerite Stein Lederberg was born in Paris, was educated as a physician in the U.S. and now serves as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. They have two children, David Kirsch and Anne Lederberg.

The Joshua Lederberg Papers at the U.S. National Library of Medicine