Dale Kaiser has passed away at 92. Kaiser was honored with a 1980 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for the development of recombinant DNA technology along with Paul Berg, Herbert Boyer, and Stanley Cohen.
Recombinant DNA technology allows scientists to splice DNA sequences (or entire genes) and to stitch those sequences into chromosomes of other cells. By doing so, scientists were able to convert cells into factories for producing proteins such as insulin for pharmaceuticals. Kaiser’s contributions to the field began in the 1950s with his study of the lambda bacteriophage. As his Lasker citation notes, Kaiser’s curiosity as to how the lambda virus could insert itself into a bacterial chromosome led to the discovery of the processes that “makes it possible to join together any arbitrary pair of DNA fragments and thus to recombine DNA.”