esther lederberg

Esther Lederberg (1922-2006) was an American microbiologist and a pioneer in bacterial genetics, making several important discoveries in the field throughout her career. She also founded the Plasmid Reference Center at Stanford University.

Among her contributions to microbiology are the discovery of the bacterial virus λ, the transfer of genes between bacteria by specialized transduction, the development of replica plating, and the discovery of the bacterial fertility factor F. Despite being described as a ‘genius in the lab’ by colleagues, she was often overshadowed by the work of her husband and not given the full credit she deserved.