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First Day Covers from the Collection of Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A.: Dr. Kary Banks Mullis

An exhibit of first day cover autographs of Nobel Prize winners from Dr. Halperin's Collection

Profile & Postcard

image of Kary Banks Mullis     image of postcard


Kary Banks Mullis, Nobel Prize winning chemist, was born on December 28, 1944, in Lenoir, North Carolina.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1966. He earned a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972 and lectured in biochemistry there until 1973. That year, Dr. Mullis became a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric cardiology at the University of Kansas Medical School, with emphasis in the areas of angiotensin and pulmonary vascular physiology. In 1977 he began two years of postdoctoral work in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Mullis joined the Cetus Corporation in Emeryville, California, as a DNA chemist in 1979. During his seven years there, he conducted research on oligonucleotide synthesis and invented the polymerase chain reaction.

In 1986, he was named director of molecular biology at Xytronyx, Inc. in San Diego, where his work was concentrated in DNA technology and photochemistry. In 1987 began consulting on nucleic acid chemistry for more than a dozen corporations, including Angenics, Cytometrics, Eastman Kodak, Abbott Labs, Milligen/Biosearch, and Specialty Laboratories.

Awards & Honors

Awards and Honors


  • William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics
  • Preis Biochemische Analytik of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry and Boehringer Mannheim


  • National Biotechnology Award
  • Gairdner Award
  • R & D Scientist of the Year


  • California Scientist of the Year Award


  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Japan Prize
  • Thomas A. Edison Award


  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of South Carolina



  • Honorary degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Bologna, Italy