Norton Zinder, who was a molecular biologist at Rockefeller University, has died, reports The New York Times. He was 83.
As a graduate student, Zinder worked out that viruses could transfer genes between bacteria. He later studied protein synthesis, competing with James Watson. Zinder spent his career at Rockefeller University in Manhattan, and "became an influential voice in many significant issues of science policy," the Times says. Zinder was involved in the start of the Human Genome Project, and helped mediate the truce between the public and private efforts. "He had trouble keeping his mouth shut, but in some ways that was disarming for people," Jesse Ausubel, a Rockefeller researcher, tells the Times.