Marshall Warren Nirenberg was born on April 10, 1927, in New York City to Harry andMinerva Nirenberg. At the age of twelve he and his family moved to Orlando, Florida there hefound a love of bird watching which introduced him to the world of zoology. In 1948 Nirenberggraduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s of Science and continued to get aMaster’s degree in Zoology. He continued his education at the University of Michigan where hegot his P.H.D. In 1960 he married his wife Perola Zaltzman but did not have any children. HIswife was a chemist out of The University of Brazil and was a biochemist at the National Instituteof HealthIn 1957 to 1959 he did predoctoral training with DeWitt Stetten Jr. and William Jakobyat the National Institute of Health. In 1960 he had a Public Health Service Fellowship and wasoffered a job as a research biochemist in Metabolic Enzymes at the National Institute of Health.There he started his study of deciphering the RNA code. Marshall Warren Nirenberg and hispartners released a paper containing the first piece of genetic code in 1961. In 1962 he waspromoted to Head of Biochemical Genetics at the National Institutes of Health. He was awardeda National Medal of Science in 1965 for his paper about the first piece of genetic code.Shortly after he found the rest of the genetic code. In 1968 he was presented with ashared Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, with his partners Har Gobind Khorana, andRobert Holley. He then started to focus on the development of the nervous system of Drosophilamelanogaster. By 1980 new genes were essential to his studies called the homeobox genes thattruly advance the world of neurobiology. In 2001 his wife died after 40 years of marriage. Hethen remarried Myrna M. Weissman in 2005 and had four stepchildren. She was a Professor ofEpidemiology and Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. OnJanuary 15, 2010, at the age of 82 Marshall Warren Nirenberg, he died of cancer.


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