Biotechnology at 25: Perspectives on History, Science, and Society Saturday, March 13, 1999


William Rutter, Ph.D.
Co-founder of Chiron Corp. and Professor of Biochemistry, Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco.

William J. Rutter is a founder of Chiron Corporation, an Emeryville, California-based biotechnology company and is also Herzstein Professor of Biochemistry Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Dr. Rutter received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He was a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, and later professor of Biochemistry in the Departments of Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. From 1969-1982, Dr. Rutter was chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), during the period in which the department played a key role in developing recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering. From 1983 through 1991, he was the Director of the Hormone Research Institute and Herzstein Professor of Biochemistry at UCSF. Dr. Rutter's primary area of research is the molecular mechanisms of gene expression especially in biological development and the development of vaccines that can be used for the prevention and treatment of human infectious diseases. Dr. Rutter has published more than 350 scientific articles and holds more than 20 patents. His lab made several early contributions in biotechnology, including the first cloning of the insulin gene and the development of a vaccine for hepatitis B virus, the first vaccine based on recombinant DNA method.

In 1981, he founded Chiron Corporation together with two other University of California professors (former members of his lab). Rutter has been Chairman of Chiron from its inception until he retired in May of 1999. In addition to his chairmanship of Chiron, Dr. Rutter is a member of the Novartis AG (formerly Ciba-Geigy Ltd.) Board of Directors. Dr. Rutter is a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers and the Carnegie Institute of Washington Board of Trustees. He was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Illinois and Eštvšs Lor‡nd University, Budapest. Dr. Rutter has received several awards for his scientific work, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves on the council of the National Academy of Science and the U.S. National Research Council.

Dr. Rutter's research interests are:
- Control of gene expression and cell development/function/via    transcription, peptide hormone receptors
- Structure/function analyses of protein/enzymes
- Biotechnology: control of viral diseases via vaccination
- Hepatitis viruses
 


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