Dr. Pestka is known as the Father of Interferon for his seminal work on interferon that gave birth to what is, today, a $6 billion dollar market directed at the therapy of hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other diseases that affect mankind. He was the first to purify interferon, the first to clone mature interferons and the first to develop a commercialized recombinant biotherapeutic Roferon while at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology of Hoffmann-La Roche.
Dr. Pestka is Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of PBL Assay Science, the company he began in his basement with wife Joan Pestka in 1990. PBL is a major provider of products, services, information, and know-how related to interferons, cytokines, antibodies, ELISAs, and assay solutions. The company employs state-of-the-art technology in conducting assay services and manufacturing world-class products for scientists around the globe.
Dr. Pestka is Emeritus Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Named as inventor on 270 U.S. and foreign patents and with 450 original research articles in his name, Dr. Pestka is a 2001 National Medal of Technology laureate. In addition to the Milstein Award, he has received the 2004 Warren Alpert Foundation Scientific Prize from Harvard Medical School, the 2006 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Molecular Biology Medal from the National Institutes of Health for his role in deciphering the genetic code and the mechanism of protein synthesis, and the 2010 Edward J.Ill Outstanding Medical Research Scientist Award for Basic Biomedical Research. He graduated summa cum laude in chemistry from Princeton University and received a doctorate in Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. His early work on the genetic code, protein synthesis and ribosome function in the laboratory of Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) led to Nirenberg’s 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Sidney Pestka, 2006 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Winner