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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

June 12, 2001
CONTACT: Dennis O'Shea

Researcher, Alumnus Maclyn McCarty
Awarded Honorary Degree

Maclyn McCarty, a world-renowned medical researcher and retired physician and administrator at what is now Rockefeller University, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by The Johns Hopkins University.

McCarty, who earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1937 and was an intern and resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital until 1940, joined the faculty of what was then called the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1941. He headed his own laboratory there from 1946 until he retired and was named professor emeritus in 1981. He was physician-in-chief from 1960 to 1974 and vice president from 1965 to 1978

Experiments he conducted in the 1940s with colleagues Oswald Avery and Colin MacLeod demonstrated for the first time that DNA is the vehicle for the transmission of hereditary information from generation to generation. Scientists previously had thought the deceptively simple DNA molecule could not be responsible for this critical function.

The citation accompanying his honorary degree of doctor of humane letters praised McCarty for his role in what has been called "the pivotal discovery of 20th century biology." It said the research ushered in "the era of molecular genetics, and discoveries with astonishing implications for our understanding of the genome and for diagnosis and treatment of disease."

McCarty, who won the 1994 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, is a 1933 graduate of Stanford University. The New York City resident is the father of Richard E. McCarty, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

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