@Scientists, Life Achievements and Childhood
Kary B. Mullis born at
Kary B. Mullis has been married four times and has three children. He is currently married to Nancy Cosgrove.
He enjoys writing and surfing.
Kary Banks Mullis was born on December 28, 1944, in Lenoir, North Carolina, to Cecil Banks Mullis and Bernice Alberta Barker. Theirs was a loving family and he grew up to be very close to his grandparents. His family had a farming background and he liked to observe the farm animals and other living organisms.
He attended Dreher High School where he developed an interest in chemistry. Later on he went to the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta from where he earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in chemistry in 1966. Married for the first time by now, he also started a business.
He then proceeded to the University of California, Berkeley, for his graduate work and performed research work in J. B. Neilands' laboratory where he focused on synthesis and structure of bacterial iron transporter molecules. He completed his PhD in 1972 and lectured in biochemistry there until 1973.
Kary B. Mullis then became a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric cardiology at the University of Kansas Medical School where he focused on the areas of angiotensin and pulmonary vascular physiology. In 1977, he began two years of postdoctoral work in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco.
In between, he gave a thought to abandoning his career in science and managed a bakery for two years. His friend Thomas White, however, encouraged him to return to science.
In 1979 he joined the biotechnology company Cetus Corporation of Emeryville, California, as a DNA chemist. It was there that he began his seminal work on oligonucleotide synthesis that led to his improvements to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
During that time, the available methods for obtaining a specific sequence of DNA in quantities sufficient for study were not only very difficult, but also time-consuming and expensive. In 1983, Mullis developed his method of PCR by making improvements to the previously known methods.
His technique which multiplies a single, microscopic strand of the genetic material billions of times within hours is of high significance to the scientific fraternity and is considered one of the biggest scientific techniques of the 20th century. The PCR process has multiple applications in medicine, genetics, biotechnology, and forensics.
Kary B. Mullis is known for the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique used in molecular biology to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude. This is a very important technique used in medical and biological research labs for a variety of applications.