London, United Kingdom, February 23, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Born in Catanzaro in southern Italy, Renato Dulbecco showed an early interest and talent in mathematics and physics, but later decided to pursue a career in medicine. In 1936, Dulbecco was called up for army duty as a medical officer, and it was not until after World War II that he managed to move to the US with his friend Rita Levi-Montalcini where, with the help of Salvador Luria, he began to study bacteriophages.
Renato Dulbecco continued his studies on viruses when he joined Max Delbruck's team at Caltech in 1949. It was here that he taught the two methods employed by his then student, Howard Temin, and by David Baltimore, used in the discovery of reverse transciptase. As a result, Dulbecco shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.
In 2005, Renato Dulbecco chose to share his life story and record it in depth for Web of Stories. Here he talks about early educational and wartime experiences and how his move to America and Nobel Prize achievement changed his life: "For a scientist, the Nobel Prize is a truly amazing thing, because there are only a few of them... I remember that I went to work at this institute... one morning I arrived there... got changed, I took off my coat...and then I went to the laboratory. When I came back... I noticed that the secretary had a piece of paper in her hand, she shook it and said 'What does this mean?' I went to have a look at what she had and it was a telegram from Stockholm, from someone that I knew and had known for quite some time, which said 'Congratulations, we'll see you in Stockholm in December,' but it was mysterious, there was nothing specific... there was a signature, but it didn't say what it was about, because he couldn't say, as the official announcement would take place a few hours later. So, I said 'The only thing I think it can mean is the Nobel Prize.' The poor woman stood as if struck by lightning."