Margarita Salas Falgueras – DNA amplification for genomics (ceremony)

Can you listen? In order to listen one has to amplify. If the
sound is low, one needs to amplify it. And this is just in the case of DNA. If one has a very small amount of DNA, for
example, even a single molecule, one needs to amplify it, in order to sequence and to
study the DNA. My most important invention was the use of
the phi29 DNA polymerase for DNA amplification. This is widely used in biotechnology and in
medicine. When I finished my PhD thesis, I decided to
go to New York with the Nobel prize winner Severo Ochoa, where I spend 3 years. When we came back to Spain, my husband and
myself, we started the phi29 work together. After a few years, my husband – that was very
generous – wanted me to be independent, decided to quit the phi29 work and start a new work
by himself, so that I could be independent for the phi29 work. From that time on I just became Margarita
Salas and not my husband’s wife. When I presented the work on the phage phi
29 DNA polymerase, USB asked me whether I was going to patent the polymerase and I said
yes. So, they helped me with the patent. The patent was very profitable from the economic
point of view. For me research is really a passion. I do not conceive life without research. So, I hope to be able to keep going for many,
many years from now.

Michael Martin

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