Richard J. Roberts

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Sir Richard Roberts
Roberts, Richard John (1943).jpg
Richard Roberts
Born Richard John Roberts
(1943-09-06) 6 September 1943 (age 76)[1]
Derby, England, UK
Nationality British
Fields molecular biologist
Alma mater University of Sheffield
Thesis Phytochemical studies involving neoflavanoids and isoflavanoids (1969)
Known for Work on introns
Restriction endonucleases
DNA methylation
Computational molecular biology[1]
Influences David Ollis[2]
John Kendrew[2]
Jack Strominger[2]
Daniel Nathans[2]
James Watson[2]
Notable awards

Sir Richard John Roberts (born 6 September 1943) is an English biochemist and molecular biologist. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. He currently works at New England Biolabs.[9][10]

Early life and education

Roberts was born in Derby, the son of Edna (Allsop) and John Roberts, an auto mechanic.[11] When he was four, Roberts' family moved to Bath. In Bath, he attended City of Bath Boys' School.[12] As a child he at first wanted to be a detective and then, when given a chemistry set, a chemist.

He graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a PhD in 1969.[1] His thesis involved phytochemical studies of neoflavonoids and isoflavonoids.[8]

Awards and honours

After becoming a Nobel Laureate in 1993 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath in 1994.[13]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1995.[7] In 2005, a multi-million pound expansion to the chemistry department at the University of Sheffield, where he had been a student, was named after him. A refurbished science department at Beechen Cliff School (previously City of Bath Boys' School) was also named after Roberts, who had donated a substantial sum of his Nobel prize winnings to the school.[14]

Roberts was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.[15] He was knighted in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

Roberts is a member of the Advisory Board of Patient Innovation, a nonprofit, international, multilingual, free venue for patients and caregivers of any disease to share their innovations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 ROBERTS, Sir Richard (John). Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Richard J. Roberts - Autobiography at".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (2003). "Richard J. Roberts—Nobel Laureate for Discovery of Split Genes". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 78 (2): 132. doi:10.4065/78.2.132. PMID 12583523.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bartnik, E. (1994). "Nobel prizes in physiology, medicine and chemistry in 1993". Postepy biochemii. 40 (1): 4–5. PMID 8208634.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Boman, H. (1993). "The 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine--split genes". Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening : tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke. 113 (30): 3666–3667. PMID 8278945.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Nobel goes to discoverers of "split genes"". Nature. 365 (6447): 597. 1993. doi:10.1038/365597a0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Sir Richard Roberts FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Roberts, Richard John (1969). Phytochemical studies involving neoflavanoids and isoflavanoids (PhD thesis). University of Sheffield.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Roberts, R. J.; Chang, Y. -C.; Hu, Z.; Rachlin, J. N.; Anton, B. P.; Pokrzywa, R. M.; Choi, H. -P.; Faller, L. L.; Guleria, J.; Housman, G.; Klitgord, N.; Mazumdar, V.; McGettrick, M. G.; Osmani, L.; Swaminathan, R.; Tao, K. R.; Letovsky, S.; Vitkup, D.; Segrè, D.; Salzberg, S. L.; Delisi, C.; Steffen, M.; Kasif, S. (2010). "COMBREX: A project to accelerate the functional annotation of prokaryotic genomes". Nucleic Acids Research. 39 (Database issue): D11–D14. doi:10.1093/nar/gkq1168. PMC 3013729. PMID 21097892.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Roberts, R. J.; Varmus, H. E.; Ashburner, M.; Brown, P. O.; Eisen, M. B.; Khosla, C.; Kirschner, M.; Nusse, R.; Scott, M. (2001). "Information Access: Building A GenBank of the Published Literature". Science. 291 (5512): 2318a. doi:10.1126/science.1060273.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Nobel Prize website
  13. "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Beechen Cliff School website
  15. "Humanist Manifesto II". American Humanist Association. Retrieved 4 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>