Evelyn Witkin Collection
Scope and Content
The collection includes correspondence with scientific colleagues, her seminal work on the SOS response and a collection of Witkin's reprints.
It includes four series:
- Series 1: Biographical Information, 2005
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1962-1990
- Series 3: Subject Files, 1971-1975
- Series 4: Scientific Publications, 1947-2005
- Witkin, Evelyn (Person)
Language of Materials
Evelyn M. Witkin, born Evelyn Maisel (born March 9, 1921) is an American geneticist whose research has been widely influential in the areas of DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair. A native New Yorker, Evelyn Witkin received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1941 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1947.
Witkin was interested in DNA mutagenesis and the nature of DNA repair mechanisms, and pursued research on bacterial DNA at the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Genetics in Cold Spring Harbor, NY with Milislav Demerec.Witkin continued her research at the C.I.W. Department of Genetics for ten years During this time, Witkin’s research focused on how bacteria could repair DNA damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
A pioneer in the field of biological responses to DNA damage, Witkin made history in the mid-1940s with her first experiments. She identified a strain of E. coli bacteria known as B/r that was more resistant to radiation than the parental B strain. This was the first time mutations conferring resistance to radiation had been isolated.
Wilkin’s research since the completion of her PhD was based on DNA mutagenesis, her mutagenesis work led to her work on DNA repair. By characterizing the phenotypes of mutagenized E. coli, she and colleague Miroslav Radman (at the time a post-doctoral student at Harvard) detailed the SOS response to UV radiation in bacteria in the early 1970s. She continued to work on the mechanism of the SOS response until she retired in 1991. The SOS response to DNA damage was a seminal discovery because it was the first coordinated stress response to be elucidated.
Witkin was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1977, at the time she was one of the few women elected to the Academy; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1980); and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She was awarded the 2000 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal and her contributions to science have been recognized by the United States government as she was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2002.
1 box, ten folders, five inches
- Bacterial Genetics
- Bunting-Smith, Mary Ingraham, 1910-1998
- Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974
- Carnegie Institution of Washington. Department of Genetics
- Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.)
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
- Columbia University
- DNA Repair
- Demerec, M. (Milislav), 1895-1966
- Dobzhansky, Theodosius, 1900-1975
- Downstate MedicalCenter (N.Y.)
- Escherichia coli
- Falk, Raphael
- Latarjet, Raymond, 1911-
- Lederberg, Joshua
- Luria, S. E. (Salvador Edward), 1912-1991
- McClintock, Barbara, 1902-1992
- Mount, David B.
- New York (N.Y.)
- Ozeki, Haruo, 1925-2009
- Pardee, Arthur B. (Arthur Beck), 1921-
- Rutgers University
- SOS Response
- Sager, Ruth
- Waksman Institute of Microbiology
- Evelyn Witkin Collection
- Finding Aid Prepared by Clare Clark.
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in English.