Nobel prize in Medicine, physician, biologist and genetist Renato Dulbecco is dead. He was born in Catanzaro in 1914 and he would have turned 98 in 2 days.
He moved to the United States in 1947, where he worked with Salvador Luria studying the bacteriophages or phages, viruses that infect bacteria by injecting genetic material.
In 1949, he studied the Varicella Zoster Herpes virus which causes the initial acute illness chickenpox and later Herpes Zoster, commonly known as shingles. In 1955 he discovered a mutated form of the poliomyelitis virus, used later by Albert Sabin for the vaccine.
He then focused his reasearch on those viruses that cause oncogenic alterations in the infected cells. In particular, he described how the viral DNA fuses with the cell DNA, causing the tumour. After a degree honoris causa from Yale University, he won in 1975 the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his work on reverse transcriptase, an enzyme used by viruses to translate their RNA into DNA inside the cells they infect.
In 1986, he was one of the scientists who launched the Human Genome Project.
In 1999, he presented the 49th edition of the Sanremo Festival together with Fabio Fazio.