Skip to Main Content


Yale biochemist is elected to the world’s oldest scientific society

Medicine@Yale, 2006 - July Aug


Nigel D.F. Grindley, Ph.D., professor and former chair of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in May. In naming Grindley one of its 44 new fellows for 2006, the Society called his studies on site-specific recombination a “landmark in the field [that] have paved the way for further fundamental discoveries.”

Grindley does research on enzymes that break apart and stitch together strands of DNA when genes are rearranged. In collaboration with his wife, senior research scientist Catherine M. Joyce, D.Phil., he has also carried out studies of DNA polymerase, an enzyme involved in DNA replication.

Grindley received his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University and his Ph.D. at the University of London. He was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1974 and at Yale from 1975 to 1978. He returned to Yale in 1980 after serving as an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1978 and a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health in 1991.

Founded in England in 1660 by Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle and other luminaries, the Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. More than 60 Nobel laureates are among the 1,400 fellows and foreign members on the Society’s roster, which through its history has included Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick, James Watson and Stephen Hawking.