Richard Axel - Researcher, Family and Childhood

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Richard Axel's Personal Details

Richard Axel is Nobel Prize winning American scientist, well-known for his scientific work pertaining to ‘olfactory receptors’

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 2, 1946
NationalityAmerican
FamousResearcher, Columbia University, Scientists
SpousesAnn Axel, Cornelia Bargmann
Universities
  • Columbia University
Notable Alumnis
  • Columbia University
Birth PlaceBrooklyn, New York City
GenderMale
Sun SignCancer
Born inBrooklyn, New York City
Famous asResearcher

// Famous Researcher

Richard Axel's photo

Who is Richard Axel?

One of world’s leading scientists, Richard Axel is the professor of molecular biophysics and pathology at Columbia University. He is well-known for his Nobel Prize-winning paper on ‘olfactory receptors’, which explains how the brain interprets smell. His ground-breaking discovery, ‘Axel Patents’ has earned him an estimated $600 million in royalty, with numerous pharmaceutical companies adopting this innovation. In addition to his contributions in the field of neurobiology, he has made several path-breaking discoveries in the area of immunology. His lab was the first to discover molecules related to the inhibition of the AIDS virus. He has been a recipient of numerous awards and has trained and mentored many leading scientists in the field of neurobiology. He also holds the title of ‘Investigator’ at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His cutting-edge discoveries in the field of science and technology including, DNA transfection has played a critical role in the study and research of biology. He is currently pursuing research in the field of scent detection in the human brain. To learn more interesting facts about his childhood, personal life, academic and scientific achievements, scroll down and read the biography below.

// Famous Alumni of Columbia University

Childhood & Early Life

Richard Axel was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his childhood playing basketball and stickball on the streets of Brooklyn.

At the age of eleven, he started working for a dentist and his job was to deliver false teeth. He continued to do many odd jobs like laying carpets and working at restaurants.

He attended the Stuyvesant High School, a school known for its well-organised and established academic programs. Here, he played basketball and was also exposed to art, music and opera.

In 1967, he graduated from Columbia University. Here, he worked as a Research Assistant in the laboratory of Bernard Weinstein, a Professor of Medicine, and became immensely interested in genetics.

In 1971, he received an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. Later that year, he joined the laboratory of Sol Spiegelman, a professor in the Department of Genetics at Columbia University.

Career

In 1972, he began his second post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked with Gary Felsenfeld on DNA and chromatin structure.

In 1974, he returned to Columbia University as an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cancer Research, where he researched on ‘the structure of genes in chromatin’.

In 1978, he became a full-time professor of pathology and biochemistry at Columbia University.

On May 1, 1978, in collaboration with his colleagues, Angel Pellicer, Michael Wigler and Saul J. Silverstein, he published his first paper titled ‘The transfer and stable integration of the HSV thymidine kinase gene into mouse cells’.

In 1980, along with microbiologist Saul J. Silverstein and geneticist Michael H. Wigler, he filed for ‘Axel Patent’, a path-breaking discovery in DNA transfection.

In 1988, along with fellow researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, he determined the link between HIV infection and ‘immunoreceptor CD4’ and discovered that the soluble form of CD4 inhibits the AIDS virus.

In April 1991, he partnered with biologist Linda B. Buck, and published the Nobel Prize winning paper, ‘A novel multigene family may encode odorant receptors: a molecular basis for odour recognition’.

Major Works

His seminal paper on ‘olfactory receptors’ was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004. His research laid the foundation for genetic and molecular analysis, which is used by a number of pharmaceutical laboratories and scientists around the world.

In 1983, along with his colleagues he founded the ‘Axel Patents’, a technique of genetically engineering cells. The royalties from this patented discovery has raised an estimated $600 million. The proteins obtained from this technology have been used in many pharmaceutical drugs.

Awards & Achievements

In 1983, he was elected a ‘Fellow’ of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1997, he received the New York City Mayor's Award for ‘Excellence in the field of Science and Technology’.

In 1998, he was honoured with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for ‘Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research’.

In 2001, he received the New York Academy of Medicine Medal for ‘Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Sciences’.

In 2003, he was the recipient of the ‘The Gairdner Foundation International Award’ for ‘Achievement in the field of Neuroscience’.

In 2004, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Linda B. Buck for their work on the ‘olfactory system’.

Personal Life & Legacy

He is married to Cornelia ‘Cori’ Bargmann, fellow scientist and neurobiologist.

// Famous Scientists

Richard Axel biography timelines

  • // 2nd Jul 1946
    Richard Axel was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his childhood playing basketball and stickball on the streets of Brooklyn.
  • // 1967
    In 1967, he graduated from Columbia University. Here, he worked as a Research Assistant in the laboratory of Bernard Weinstein, a Professor of Medicine, and became immensely interested in genetics.
  • // 1971
    In 1971, he received an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. Later that year, he joined the laboratory of Sol Spiegelman, a professor in the Department of Genetics at Columbia University.
  • // 1972
    In 1972, he began his second post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked with Gary Felsenfeld on DNA and chromatin structure.
  • // 1974
    In 1974, he returned to Columbia University as an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cancer Research, where he researched on ‘the structure of genes in chromatin’.
  • // 1978
    In 1978, he became a full-time professor of pathology and biochemistry at Columbia University.
  • // 1st May 1978
    On May 1, 1978, in collaboration with his colleagues, Angel Pellicer, Michael Wigler and Saul J. Silverstein, he published his first paper titled ‘The transfer and stable integration of the HSV thymidine kinase gene into mouse cells’.
  • // 1980
    In 1980, along with microbiologist Saul J. Silverstein and geneticist Michael H. Wigler, he filed for ‘Axel Patent’, a path-breaking discovery in DNA transfection.
  • // 1983
    In 1983, along with his colleagues he founded the ‘Axel Patents’, a technique of genetically engineering cells. The royalties from this patented discovery has raised an estimated $600 million. The proteins obtained from this technology have been used in many pharmaceutical drugs.
  • // 1983
    In 1983, he was elected a ‘Fellow’ of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • // 1988
    In 1988, along with fellow researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, he determined the link between HIV infection and ‘immunoreceptor CD4’ and discovered that the soluble form of CD4 inhibits the AIDS virus.
  • // Apr 1991
    In April 1991, he partnered with biologist Linda B. Buck, and published the Nobel Prize winning paper, ‘A novel multigene family may encode odorant receptors: a molecular basis for odour recognition’.
  • // 1997
    In 1997, he received the New York City Mayor's Award for ‘Excellence in the field of Science and Technology’.
  • // 1998
    In 1998, he was honoured with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for ‘Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research’.
  • // 2001
    In 2001, he received the New York Academy of Medicine Medal for ‘Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Sciences’.
  • // 2003
    In 2003, he was the recipient of the ‘The Gairdner Foundation International Award’ for ‘Achievement in the field of Neuroscience’.
  • // 2004
    His seminal paper on ‘olfactory receptors’ was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004. His research laid the foundation for genetic and molecular analysis, which is used by a number of pharmaceutical laboratories and scientists around the world.
  • // 2004
    In 2004, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Linda B. Buck for their work on the ‘olfactory system’.

// Cancer Celebrities

Richard Axel's FAQ

  • What is Richard Axel birthday?

    Richard Axel was born at 1946-07-02

  • Where is Richard Axel's birth place?

    Richard Axel was born in Brooklyn, New York City

  • What is Richard Axel nationalities?

    Richard Axel's nationalities is American

  • Who is Richard Axel spouses?

    Richard Axel's spouses is Ann Axel, Cornelia Bargmann

  • What was Richard Axel universities?

    Richard Axel studied at Columbia University

  • What was Richard Axel notable alumnis?

    Richard Axel's notable alumnis is Columbia University

  • What is Richard Axel's sun sign?

    Richard Axel is Cancer

  • How famous is Richard Axel?

    Richard Axel is famouse as Researcher