Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Discoveries in The Biological & Biomedical That Have Changed Our Lives

Biological and Biomedical Discoveries

year institution discovery discoverer
1922 University of California Vitamin E: needed to protect against damage to DNA 2 UC Scientists
1935 University of California Vitamin K: a factor necessary for blood to clot properly  
1969 University of California Developed a blood test for the genetic defect that causes Tay-Sachs - a disease that causes mental retardation - leading to prenatal tests and parental screening.  
1974 University of California Discovery of the organism Chlamydia trachomatis that can cause pneumonia and lung damage in newborns UC Epidemiologists
1970 University of California Oncogene: Discovery of first cancer-causing gene in a virus Peter Duesberg and Peter Vogt
1979 University of California Human growth hormone cloned  
1981 University of California Hepatitis B cloned: the first human vaccine developed by genetic engineering  
1982 University of California An eye test that detects an inability of diabetics to see blue - if detected early the treatment can prevent severe vision loss  
1982 University of California Replacement earcartilage:A procedue that restores hearing by replacing damaged middle ear bones with sculpted cartilage  
1980 University of California Transplant infant corneas  
1987 University of California Human chorionic gonadotropin  
1987 University of California High-speed cell sorter: Used to help fight diseases such as AIDS and leukemia - scientists developed a high-speed cell sorter that analyzes 50,000 cells or chromosomes a second  
1990 University of California Test tube fertilization:Doctors developed a technique to remove sperm and place them in test tubes for fertilization - allowing men who have had vasectomies to father children  
1991 University of California Inner-ear implant: This implant enables the deaf to recognize tones to understand speech - the device stimulates the auditory nerve via an electrode inserted into the inner ear  
1991 University of California Nicotine Patch: Used to wean smokers off cigarettes - tramits low dosages of nicotine into the bloodstream Jed Rose and Daniel Rose and Murray Jarvic
1991 University of California Chromosome 19: responsible for atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries  
1991 University of California Highlight human chromosomes: Painting or Staining human chromosomes with fluorescent dyes are used to highlight abnormalities that may cause inherited diseases or cancer  
1992 University of California Low levels of vitamin C was linked to increased genetic damage in sperm which could mean greater risk of birth defects in embryos  
1992 University of California Salmonella screening: Discovered a way to screen chicken eggs for salmonella bacteris through technology originally developed for dececting chemical and biological weapons  
1992 University of California Yogurt consumption increases gamma interferon: Eating yogurt containing living organisms increases llevels of gamma interferon which strengtens the immune system  
1940 University of California Developed a hyprid blant resistant to a devastating virus - resulting in about 40 strawberry varieties grown worldwide  
1960 University of California Scientists modernized farming with new machinery such as tree -shaking devices for harvesting fruits and nuts as well as the mechanical tomato harvester  
1980 University of California Black-eyed bean  
1988 University of California Bacterium that triggers frost damage: Scientists were able to alter this bacterium to prevent freezing and found that cops coated with the so-called ice minus bacterium reduces frost damage  
1989 University of California Ash Whitefly controlled: Ash Whitefly controlled The Ash whitefly ruined crops in the Western United States was controlled using a tiny stingless wasp that feeds on the flies - eradicating the whitefly without pesticides  
1992 University of California Genetically altered tomatoes turn ripe on cue and remain ripe for as long as three months without spoiling - helping consumers store fruit longer without refrigerators  
1968 University of California RNA :drives the activity of ribosomes which manufacture proteins in every living cell  
1960s Rockefeller University Peptide Synthesis: Automated process for synthesizing peptides which revolutionized protein chemistry and has been used to make vaccines & hormones Bruce Merrifield
1960s Rockefeller University Methadone: Methadone for treating heroine addicts - suggesting drug addiction as a chemical imbalance rather than a moral failing Vincent Dole
1960s Rockefeller University Neuron generation: Discovery that adult brains can generate new neurons Fernando Nottebohm
1964 UCLA Microcytotoxicity test: The microcytotoxicity test has become the international standard for tissue typing - necessary for organ transplant  
1970 UCLA UCLA Kidney transplant Reigstry: The data from more than 100000 kidney recipients that are obtained from about 200 transplant centers allows researchers to monitor changes in patient outcomes over time  
1975 UCLA Artificial hip & artificial Shoulder: First durable artificial hip called the chamber cylinder design surface - leading to the first total shoulder replacement  
1984 UCLA Pepide Isolation: Isolation of the first human antibiotic peptides  
  UCSD Silicon Polymer: Chemists developed a silicon polymer capable of detecting trace amounts of chemicals commonly used in terrorist bombs - they also developed a cheap and portable nerve gas detector and dust-sized chips of silicon that can rapidly detect a variety of chemical and biological agents  
  UCSD Sialic acid: Sialic acid The first biochemical and genetic difference between humans and great apes - an enzyme on the surface of cells which is the result of a mutation that occurred in humans more than 2 million years ago  
1976 UCSF Prenatal tests for sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia Y.W. Kan
1977 UCSF Insulin gene: Isolated the gene for insulin leading to the mass production of genetically engineerd insulin to treat diabetes William Rutter
1976 UCSF Liposomes: Microcpic sacs that can safely transport drugs within the body Demetrios Paphadjopoulos
1979 UCSF Cochlear implant device: Enables the deaf to hear  
1979 UCSF Human growth hormone gene cloned: Led to genetically engineered human growth hormone  
1981 UCSF Drug for premature infants: Patented a drug to compensate for the absence of the lung coating surfactant in infants born with immature lungs - reducing infant mortality rates and pioneering the clinical speciality of fetal diagnosis and in utero treatment  
1983 UCSF HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS  
1985 UCSF Telomerase: A novel enzyme that is a central focus of study as a target for treating cancer and age-related and degenerative diseases Elizabeth Blackburn
1997 UCSF Gene manipulation to alter lifespan  
1997 UCSF Proto-oncogenes: Normal genes that have the potential to convert to cancer genes - transforming the way scientists look at cancer J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus
1997 UCSF Prion Stanley Prusiner
1981 UCSF Embrionic stem cells: Laid the groundwork for current worldwide research on human embryonic stem cells to treat disease - stemming from this isolation of precursor cells from mouse embryos Gail Martin
2000 Johns Hopkins University Brain activity triggering violence  
  Johns Hopkins University Restored movement to recently paralyzed rodents: Movement is restored by injecting stem cells into their spinal fluid - raising hope for improved treatment of paralyzing motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis  
  Johns Hopkins University Genes that contribute to malignancy: A family of genes that contributes to the process of malignancy - shedding new light on the abnormalities that lead to lymphoma leukemia prostate ovarian lung and breast cancer  
  Johns Hopkins University Vitamin D modification: Helps delay the onset and reduce the number of skin cancers in lab mice without causing loss of bone calcium  
1982 Johns Hopkins University Vitamin A supplements: Vitamin A deficient children were treated with a supplement that dropped mortality by 30 percent - also reducing malaria and maternal death while zinc supplements reduce infant mortality as well as pneumonia and diarrhea in developing countries Alfred Sommer
1999 Johns Hopkins University Drug that stops the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye - Could have sight-saving implications for millions of people with complications of diabetes  
1998 Johns Hopkins University Human embryonic stem cells: Isolated and cultivated huan embryonic stem cells: the undifferentiated cell from which an entire human being eventually develops  
1998 Johns Hopkins University Schitzopherenia link: First reliable evidence of the genetic suceptibility to schizophrenia  
1996 Johns Hopkins University Prostate cancer gene: Mapped the first specific prostate cancer gene to chromosome 1  
1995 Johns Hopkins University Sickle cell anemia treatment  
1979 Johns Hopkins University Infant deaths in automobiles: Identified high rates of infant deaths in motor vehicle accidents leading to the passage of the child safety restraint laws  
1972 Johns Hopkins University Pacemaker: First implantable rechargeable pacemaker for cardiac disorders  
1960s Johns Hopkins University Biochemical scissors: Restriction enzymes which gave birth to the entire new field of genetic engineering  
1965 Johns Hopkins University Oral contraceptive warnings: First warning of possible dangers involving oral contraceptives leading to further study  
1958 Johns Hopkins University Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Lifesaving first-aid technique developed from a chance observation during work on the defibrillating machine  
1944 Johns Hopkins University Blue baby operation: Corrects congenital heart defects ushering in a new era in open heart surgery  
1943 Johns Hopkins University Scrub typhus treatment: Developed treatment and preventitive measures for scrub typhus that afflicted American and Australian troops in the South Pacific during World War II - stemming from the production of the yellow fever vaccine a year earlier  
1913 Johns Hopkins University Renal dialysis: First successful renal dialysis in an animal model  
1889 Johns Hopkins University Rubber Glove: Introduced rubber glove for use during surgery  
1879 Johns Hopkins University Saccharine: Sweetening agent  
1980s Cornell DNA particle accelerator: Used for transferring genetic material from one organism to another John Stanford & Edward Wolf & Nelson Allen
1968 Cornell RNA:Structure of RNA Robert W Holley
1960s Cornell Heimlich maneuver Harry Heimlich
1920s Cornell Pap smear: Method of detecting cervical cancer - developed into worldwide diagnostic tool for potential cancers of the uterus George Papanicolau
1990s Cornell map-based cloning in plants: Used to find molecular markers associated with the gene of interest - then used as a starting point for chromosome walking or jumping to the gene Steven Tanksley
1990s Cornell gene therapy: First used in mammals to correct blindness in dogs Gustavo Aguirre and Gregory Ackland
1970s Cornell Canine vaccine: Used against distember and hepatitis and leptospirosis John Gillespie
1980s Cornell Canine parvovirus: Highly contagious virus affecting dogs Leland Carmichael and Max Appel
1939 Cornell Animal breeding & artificial insemination G. W. Salisbury
1954 Cornell revolutionary dairy cattle breeding: leading to applied genetics through artificial insemination for animal breeding C. R. Henderson
  Cornell Synthesis of Terramycin: an important antibiotic Hans Muxfeldt
1994 Cornell Vaccine for Lyme Disease  
1998 Cornell Biosensors built on nanofabrication: Revolutionized bacteria detection in food water and the environment Carl Batt
  Cornell Biomolecular motors: Successfully built and tested the first biomolecular motors with timy metal propellers Carolo D. Montemagno
1946 Harvard University Nuclear magnetic resonance: used extensively for medical imaging and investigations of molecular structures Edward M. Purcell
1950s Harvard University Vitamin A relation to vision:Vitamin A is essential to vision and plays a major role in color blindness George Wald
1952 Harvard University Heart Pacemaker  
1954 Harvard University Human kidney transplant: Launched era of organ transplantation Joseph E Murray
1950s Harvard University Insect hormone development: Demonstrated potential of insect hormones to control growth and development leading to the production of more effective types of insecticides Carroll Williams
1950s Harvard University DNA research: Relationships between DNA genes and the proteins that they produce James D. Watson
1960s Harvard University Brain research: Advanced our understanding of how the brain processes visual information David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel
1960 Harvard University Defibrilator and Cadioverter: used around the world to control disturbances in heart rhythm  
1971 Harvard University Blood-vessel growth in tumors: The mechanism of blood-vessel growth in tumors has applications to numerous medical problems including cancers and heart-attack damage  
1970s Harvard University Genetic system responsible for immunization allergies and transplant rejection: Led to new treatments for cancer and autoimune disease Baruj Benacerraf
1988 Harvard University First trangenic mouse: A technique that is used for cancer research and led to a method of preventing a cancer of blood cells common in young children in Africa  
1991 Harvard University Estrogen replacement therapy: Used for reducing the risk of heart disease in women  
1992 Harvard University Diptheria toxin: paved the way for a safer and cheaper vaccine  
1992 Harvard University resetting human biological clock: Led to improved safety and effectiveness for shift workers and international travellers  
1995 Harvard University patch cartilage in knee joints: Method to patch worn or torn cartilage in knee joints  
1998 Harvard University brain cell replacement: The possibility that it may be possible to replace brain cells lost to disease accidents or aging  
2000 Harvard University Synthesized cancer drug: Most complex molecule ever made on a commercial scale - this drug is being tested on patients for whom no effective chemotherapy exists  
  Columbia University Homocysteine: Developed an assay for quantifying the presence of homocysteine - and amino acid that can indicate increased risk of heart disease John Lindenbaum
  Columbia University Glaucoma treatment: Extremely small doses of prostaglandins can lower ocular pressure and successfully treat glaucoma Laszlo Z Bito
  Columbia University Shoulder prosthesis: Allows for restoration of shoulder joint function for those who suffer from osteoarthritis rheumatoid arthritis traumatic arthritis and certain breaks in the shoulder bones Louis Bigliani
1920s Columbia University Rheumatic fever: Identification of rheumatic fever  
1990s Purdue University Head lice treatment: Identified compunds in the bark of the pawpaw tree to create a safe means to treat head lice Dr. Jerry McLaughlin
1969 MIT Artificial skin: a material used successfully to treat burn victims Ioannis V. Yannas
1970 MIT Reverse transcriptase: An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of RNA to DNA - a discovery that provides a new means to study the structure and function of genes David Baltimore
  CalTech automated DNA sequencer: Led to human genome project  
1975 MIT Effects of weightlessness: Led to better understanding of motion sickness Lawrence Young
1976 MIT man-made gene: Synthesized the first man-made gene fully functional in a living cell - establishing the foundation for the biotechnology industry Har Gobind Khorana
1977 MIT Split gene structure: Split gene structure of higher organisms altered the way we think about how genes arose during evolution Philip Sharp
  MIT Oncogene: Isolated and identified the first human oncogene - an altered gene that causes the uncontrolled cell growth that leads to cancer Robert Weinberg
  MIT Laser catheter system: used for microsurgery on arteries Michael Feid
  MIT & University of Michigan ALS gene Robert Hovitz & Francis S. Collins
2000 University of Michigan Human genome draft: Initial draft of the human genome as part of the Human Genome project Francis S. Collins
  MIT genetic and multiple-cell monitoring techniques: Contains more than 15000 distinct markers and covers virtually all of the human genome  
  MIT mechanism of aging in yeast cells: demonstrate how animals form memory about new environments Matthew Wilson and Susumu Tonegawa
1998 MIT Polymer materias: suggests that one day we may be able to intervene and possibily inhibit the aging process in certain human cells Professor Leonard Guarente
1970s MIT Dystrophin gene insertion: Used to inhibit angiogenisis - critica in fighting cancer and revolutionizing the way drugs were administered to cancer patients Robert S. Langer
  University of Michigan research on nitric oxide: Prevented the occurrence of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in mice - suggesting that gene therapy might be possible in treating the disease Jeffrey Chamberlain
1985 University of Michigan research on nitric oxide: Nitric oxide functions as a wide-ranging chemical signal in the human body - leading to scientific basis for the development of erectile dysfunction therapy and to the development of drugs such as Viagra Levitra and Cialis Michael A. Marletta
  Vanderbilt University PD-5 Jackie D. Corbin and Sharron Francis
  University of Wisconsin - Madison Flue vaccine: ongoing research to develop new vaccines to prevent the flue Virginia Hinshaw
1970s Ohio State University LeukocellR: Vaccine against a feline retrovirus - first marketed vaccine against feiline leukemia  
2002 Ohio State University Crop plant transgenes: Artificial genes inserted into genomes of crop plants are able to spread to wild plants - a discovery that is shaping interdisciplinary efforts to asses the environmental risks and benefits ofusing biotechnology in agriculture. Allison Snow
1930s Ohio State University Freon: Produced the worldwide use of Freon in refrigeration and air-conditioning A. L. Henne
1950s Ohio State University Heparin: Determined the structure and properties of heparin - used for treatment of heart atacks and related coronary disorders M. L. Wolfrom
1979 Princeton p53 tumor suppressor protein: A molecule that inhibits tumor development Arnold Levine
  Princeton Alimta: a path-breaking drug with magor success in stoping the growth of solid tumors - easing suffering and extending life Edward Taylor
1946 Tulane University Importance of tooth-brushing and flossing: Determined in studies of microorganisms in human saliva and tooth decay that daily tooth brushing and flossing would reduce cavities  
1954 Indiana University Fluoride: Effectiveness of stannous fluoride in helping to prevent tooth decay  
1951 Penn Dialysis machine: Firsed devised out of a pressure cooker William Inouye
1960 University of Washington long-term dialysis: Pioneered long-term dialysis for kidney failure  
1970s University of Missouri-Columbia Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis: allowed patients to receive dialysis treatments at home  
1954 University of Missouri-Columbia Single-breath technique: Used for measuring pulmonary diffusion capacity - becoming the world standard for the clinical evaluation of this important parameter of lung function Robert E. Forster II and ward Fowler and D. V. Bates
1950s Penn Cancer chromosomes: Discovery that abnormal chromosomes can cause cancer - shattering the idea that cancer had no genetic basis Peter C Nowell
1969 Penn Rubella vaccine (german measles) Joseph Stokes
1975 Penn Retin-A: cream used to treat acne and superficial wrinkles Albert M. Klingman
1991 Penn gene research  
1999 Penn Liver transplants without the need for immunosuppresive drugs Kim M. Olthoff
1999 Penn gene-therapy treatment: blocks age-related loss of muscle size and strength in mice H. Lee Sweeney
  Penn gene-therapy: used to successfully treat dogs with hemophilia by encouraging the production of Factor IX - a protein involved in blood clotting - later used in humans to control their disease Katherine A. High
  Penn Resistin: A hormone produced by fat cells that impairs the actions of insuin on peripheral tissues  
2001 Penn successfully restored sight in dogs afflicted with a variation of Leber congenital amaurosis  
1947 MIT Medical Ultrasound: Used to detect gallbladder stones using ultrasound echo method - precursors of medical ultrasonic equipment George D. Ludwig
1950s University of Washington Doppler ultrasound: Used in cardiovascular research - turning ultrasound into one of the best diagnostic tools in the world Donald Baker
  University of Washington Hepatitus B vaccine: Generated by gentically engineering protein production Ben Hall
  University of Washington Sonic Toothbrush: Bristle tips move 100 times faster than manual brushing while directing fluids deep between teeth and below the gum-line to remove plaque and prevent gum disease David Giuliani
1998 University of Wisconsin - Madison Human embryonic stem cells First to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cels - capable of becoming any of the 220 types of cells and tissues in the human body James Thomson
1960s University of Wisconsin - Madison Vitamin D research: Discovery that vitamin D is biologically inactive and must be modified by the liver and kidney to assume its active hormonal form - leading to synthesized metabolites and derivatives of the vitamin D hormone Hector DeLuca
1981 University of Wisconsin - Madison DSA - Digital Subtraction Angiography: Technique that became the dominant X-ray technique for imaging blood vessels Charles Mistretta
1986 University of Wisconsin - Madison UW Solution: synthetic solution for cold storage of organs to be transplanted from one person to another Folkert Belzer and James Southard
1950s University of Wisconsin - Madison air-suspension method and device for coating pharmaceutical tablets: Resulted in a widely used method for applying various coatings to pharmaceutical tablets to mask tastes and control the release of drugs in the human body Dale E. Wurster
1940s University of Wisconsin - Madison Bacteria research: Revealed the seual reproductive capabilities of bacteria and why bacteria such as tuberculosis became resistant to antibiodics Joshua Lederberg
1970 University of Wisconsin - Madison First synthetic gene Har Gobind Khorana
1980s Yale University catalytic RNA: Demonstrated that RNA was far more instrumental in understanding disease than previously thought Sid Altman
1952 Columbia University APGAR test: First simple test for assessing the health of newborn babies Virginia Apgar
2003 University of Wisconsin - Madison potato gene: Identified and isolated a gene that protcts late blight- the disease responsible for the 19th century potato famine in Ireland  
  University of Wisconsin - Madison genetic roots of depression: Identified a variant in a gene that regulates chemical messengers in the brain that may cause people to be more prone to mental illness  
1980 University of Pittsburgh first successful transplant: using cyclosporine as the immuno-suppressive drug - leading to the beginning of successful organ transplants Thomas Starzi
1968 Stanford University first human heart transplant Norman Shumway
1981 Stanford University first successful heart/lung transplant Bruce Reitz
  University of Chicago first successful living-related liver transplant Christoph Broelsch
  Stanford University Coined term REM for Rapid Eye Movement to describe the portion of sleep when people dream  
1999 Stanford University narcolepsy gene: could lead to a cure for narcolepsy  
  Washington University - St. Louis PSA test: first accurate screen for early prostate cancer  
1997 University of Michigan Basic research that led to the development of nasal spray vaccines which are revolutionizing the battle against influenza  
1943 Columbia University Bacitracin  
1952 Rutgers University Streptomycin  
1957 MIT Chemical synthesis of penicillin  
  University of Pittsburgh First synthetic insulin  
1940s University of Cincinnati Benadryl: first antihistamine  
1930s Clark University and Penn State IUD - intrauterine birth control device  
1959 State University of New York - Buffalo preventative malaria pill  
1950 University of Chicago research on Polio virus  
1948 Harvard University Polio Vaccine: Discovered how to grow polio virus in the laboratory; Led to polio vaccine John Enders & Frederick Robbins & Thomas Weller
1954 University of Pittsburgh bacterial meningitis vaccine Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin
1985 University of Rochester Salmonella vaccine  
1987 Washington University - St. Louis Synthetic morphine  
1952 University of Rochester Cystic fibrosis research: First reliable source of morphine and paved the way for development of other synthetic painkillers and anesthetics  
1989 University of Michigan Discovered genetic basis of cystic fibrosis  
1997 Northwestern University Identified and cloned the clock gene - expanding our understanding of circadian rhythms and clocks in humans and other species as regulated by various environmental factors  
1963 Stanford University pioneered development of modern laser eye-surgery  
1952 Harvard University First external heart pacemaker  
1957 University of Washigton Bone marrow transplants for leukemia  
1967 University of Colorado Liver transplant  
1972 University of California - Irvine Artificial Knee Joint  
  University of Arizona Artificial wrist  
1998 Rutgers University Artificial hand: Allowed a user to rely on original nere pathways and gain natural control over at least three independent artificial fingers  
1992 University of California - Davis Robodoc  
1950s Duke University Childproof safety caps for pharmaceutical products  
1975 University of Maryland Sterilization system for milk: Improved the safety of fresh milk by developing a sterilization system that did not require refrigeration during transportation of storage  
1999 University of Missouri-Coumbia & Iowa State University Milk pasteurization: Process that uses electron beam technology instead of heat  
  Duke University Fuzeon: Opened a new era in drug development for treating HIV by uncovering a new class of drugs called the fusion inhibitors Dani Bolognesi