Leonard Adleman – The Father of DNA Computing:

Leonard Adleman was interested in math and science ever since he was a child. In 1968, he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley in mathematics. He entered graduate school at the San Francisco State College only to drop out when he found work as a computer programmer for the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. He returned to Berkeley later and completed a Ph.D in computer science in 1976. He then took an assistant professorship at MIT where he met two other young researchers, Ron Rivest and Adi Shamir. Rivest and Shamir interested Adleman in the work they were doing: building a public key cryptography system. The three eventually pioneered the one-way function that is now used in public key crypto systems with Rivest and Shamir thinking up possible one-way functions while Adleman attempted to break them. All together, 42 different functions were tried until they found one that Adleman could not break. This became the basis for the widely used cryptography system which came to bear the initials of the trio: RSA (Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman). After the instant fame and recognition for his groundbreaking work, Adleman became a professor of computer science at USC. At USC, he and student name Fred Cohen, tested the first computer “virus” in 1983. A few years later, Adleman made a discovery in AIDS research where he discovered that when HIV killed off a certain type of white blood cell (T-8’s), it would be accompanied by an unexpected spike in another T-cell, the T-4. He proposed (and it was later confirmed) that by removing the excess T-4’s, the body would automatically replace these with the much needed T-8 cells that were killed off by HIV. In the process, Adleman became gained much new knowledge on biological processes which eventually led to his discovery of DNA computing. He has continued his research in DNA computing at USC, publishing various papers on the topic as well as opening the Laboratory for Molecular Science at USC in 1995.

Adleman's portrait taken from http://www.youdzone.com/namedrop.html