Work has begun on cataloguing the papers of Guido Pontecorvo, the University’s first Professor Genetics and one of the ‘world changers’ on the recently launched University of Glasgow World Changing website.
Pontecorvo, who liked to be known by his nickname, Ponte, was Professor of Genetics at the University from 1955 to 1968, and has been described as “one of the founding fathers of modern genetics”. He endowed prizes and scholarships for students at the University and the Genetics Building was named for him in 1994.
Born and educated in Pisa, Pontecorvo was forced to leave Italy in 1938 and settled in Scotland. He was appointed a lecturer in Genetics at the University’s Zoology Department in 1945, and a new department was set up in the Anatomy laboratories of the Anderson College building soon afterwards. He became a Reader in 1952, three years before his appointment to the new Chair. He left Glasgow in 1968 to take a post at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s laboratories in London.
Pontecorvo was one of the leading figures of his day in the study of of cell genetics. He was the founder of the genetics of Aspergillus nidulans, a relative of Penicillium, and originated genetical studies in many other fungi. He elucidated the divisibility of the gene by recombination, and after leaving Glasgow he carried out important research in the application of parasexual techniques to mammalian cell cultures.
Thanks for generous funding from the Wellcome Trust a small team are cataloguing and repackaging Ponte’s papers, which were deposited at Archive Services in 2009. We will provide regular project updates here so watch this space!
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)