Michael Smith (chemist)

Michael Smith (chemist)
Michael Smith

Michael Smith
Born 26 April 1932(1932-04-26)
Blackpool, England
Died 4 October 2000(2000-10-04) (aged 68)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canada
Fields Chemistry
Institutions University of British Columbia
Alma mater University of Manchester
Known for mutagenesis
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1993)

Michael Smith, CC, OBC, FRS[1] (26 April 1932 – 4 October 2000) was a British-born Canadian biochemist who won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.



Michael Smith was born in Blackpool, England, and educated at the Arnold School in Blackpool. He went on to receive his PhD in 1956 from the University of Manchester. Afterwards, he did post-doctoral work in Gobind Khorana's Laboratory at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He remained at the University of British Columbia from 1956 until his retirement in 1997.

In 1981 he co-founded the biotechnology company ZymoGenetics. In 1987 he founded and acted as Director of the University of British Columbia Biotechnology Laboratory.

Smith retired in 1997. He had married Helen (divorced 1983); they had two sons and two daughters.


In March 1986 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[1][2]

In 1993 Smith received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his fundamental contributions to the establishment of oligonucleotide-based site-directed mutagenesis, first published in 1978,[3] and its utility in both genetics and protein studies, as well as genetic engineering. The prize was awarded jointly to Smith and Kary Mullis, who had invented the Polymerase Chain Reaction independently of Smith's work.

In 1994 Michael Smith was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 2001 the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research was founded and named after him.

In 2004 the UBC Biotechnology Laboratories were renamed the Michael Smith Laboratories in his honour.

Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre is named in his honour.

Also in 2004 the new biological sciences research centre at The University of Manchester was named the Michael Smith Building.

Selected publications

  • Ferrer, J.C., Turano, P., Banci, L., Bertini, I., Morris, I.K., Smith, K.M., Smith, M., Mauk, A.G. (1994). Active site coordination chemistry of the cytochrome c peroxidase Asp235Ala variant: Spectroscopic and functional characterization. Biochem. 33: (25) 7819-7829.
  • Guillemette, J.G., Barker, P.D., Eltis, L.D., Lo, T.P., Smith, M., Brayer, G.D., Mauk, A.G. (1994). Analysis of the biomolecular reducation of ferricytochrome c by ferrocytochrome b5 through mutagenesis and molecular modelling. Biochimie 76: 592-604.
  • Berghuis, A.M., Guillemette, J.G., Smith, M., and Brayer, G.D. (1994). Mutation of tyrosine-67 to phenylamaine in cytochrome c significantly alters the local heme environment. J. Mol. Biol. 235: 1326-1341.
  • Rafferty, S.P., Guillemette, J.G., Smith, M., and Mauk, A.G. (1996). Azide binding and active site dynamics of position-82 variants of ferricytochrome c. Inorg. Chem. Acta.242: 171-177.
  • Woods, A.C., Guillemette, J.G., Parraish, J.C., Smith, M., Wallace, C.J.A. (1996). Synergy in Protein Engineering. Mutagenic manipulation of protein structure to simplify semisynthesis. J. Biol. Chem. 271: (50) 32008-32015.
  • Hildebrand, D.P., Ferrer, J.C., Tang, H.-L., Smith, M., and Mauk, A.G. (1996). Trans effects on cysteine ligation in the proximal His93Cys variant of horse heart myoglobin. Biocchemistry 34: 11598-11605.
  • Hildebrand, D.P., Ferrer, J.C., Tang, H.-L., Luo, Y., Hunter, C.L., Brayer, G.D., Smith, M. and Mauk, A.G. (1996). Efficient coupled oxidation of heme by an active site variant of horse heart myoglobin. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 118: (51) 12909-12915.
  • Maurus, R., Overall, C.M., Bogumil, R., Luo, Y., Mauk, A.G., Smith, M., and Brayer, G.D. (1997). Thermal stabilization of horse heart myoglobin through modification of ahydrophobic cluster in the proximal heme pocket. Biochem. Acta. 1341: 1-13.


  1. ^ a b Astell, C. R. (2001). "Michael Smith. 26 April 1932 - 4 October 2000". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 47: 429–441. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2001.0025. PMID 15124649.  edit
  2. ^ "Library and Archive catalogue". The Royal Society. http://www2.royalsociety.org/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Persons&dsqPos=34&dsqSearch=%28Surname%3D%27smith%27%29. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Hutchison, C.A., Philipps, S., Edgell, M.H., Gillham, S., Jahnke, P., Smith, M. (1978) Mutagenesis at a Specific Position in a DNA Sequence. J. Biol. Chem. 253: (18) 6551-6560

External links

See also

  • Eric Damer and Caroline Astell. "No Ordinary Mike: Michael Smith, Nobel Laureate." Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2004.

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