Salvador Edward Luria

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Salvador Luria (1969)

Salvador Edward Luria (born August 13, 1912 in Turin , † February 6, 1991 in Lexington , Massachusetts ) was an Italian -American microbiologist .


Luria came from a Sephardic Jewish family and studied medicine at the University of Turin , where he also met the later Nobel Prize winners Rita Levi-Montalcini and Renato Dulbecco and in 1935 obtained his doctorate in medicine. After the compulsory military service, which he performed as a doctor, he studied radiology at the University of La Sapienza in Rome from 1937, through which he got to know the genetic research of Max Delbrück . In 1938 he received a scholarship to study with Delbrück in the USA, but this was prevented by regulations of the Italian fascist government prohibiting scholarships for Jewish students. Luria went to Paris in 1938 and when France was occupied in 1940, she moved to the USA via Marseille. Through the mediation of Enrico Fermi , at whose institute in Rome he had studied medical physics and radiology in 1938/39, he received a Rockefell scholarship and was able to work with Delbrück and Alfred Day Hershey in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on bacteriophage experiments. One result of their collaboration was the Luria-Delbrück experiment of 1943. In the same year he worked at Indiana University , where James D. Watson was his student, and from 1950 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign .

In 1959 he became professor of microbiology at MIT , where he turned to research into cell membranes . In 1972 he moved to a chair at the Center for Cancer Research at MIT.

In 1969 Luria received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with Max Delbrück and Alfred Day Hershey , “for their discoveries about the replication mechanism and genetic structure of viruses”.

Luria also discovered the effect of restriction enzymes as early as 1952 ( Werner Arber , Daniel Nathans , Hamilton Othanel Smith received the Nobel Prize for their molecular genetic clarification ) when he was investigating how some bacterial strains of Escherichia coli repelled attacks from phages .

Luria had been a US citizen since 1947. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (since 1959), the National Academy of Sciences (since 1960) and the American Philosophical Society (since 1964) and received the National Medal of Science in 1991. In 1968/69 he was President of the American Society for Microbiology . Luria was also politically active, for example, together with Linus Pauling, from 1957 onwards she opposed nuclear weapon tests and fought against the Vietnam War in the 1960s .


  • General Virology , 1953
  • Life, the unfinished experiment , 1974 (received the National Book Award )
    • Life - the unfinished experiment. Munich 1974.
  • A slot machine. A broken test tube. New York 1984 (autobiography).

Web links

Commons : Salvador Luria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gisela Baumgart: Luria, Salvador Edward. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 873 f .; here: p. 873.