Gerald Fink is an American biologist, who was Director of the Whitehead Institute at MIT from 1990-2001. He graduated from Amherst College in 1962 and received a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1965. He then taught at Cornell University where he became a Professor of Genetics. In 1982 he became a member of the Whitehead Institute and Professor of Genetics at MIT. Dr. Fink was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1981, to the Institute of Medicine in 1996, and to the American Philosophical Society in 2003.
Fink taught a course in the Molecular Biology of Yeast at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for 17 years. Many of these students as well as his university students went on to have successful careers in molecular biology.
In 1977, Fink and his students Albert Hinnen and Jim Hicks, discovered a method to transform yeast cells, a procedure that allows scientists to introduce genetic material from another organism into living yeast cells so that the expression and hereditability of the introduced DNA can be studied. This transformation procedure is not only essential for basic research, but is used to produce vaccines and other medically important products in yeast.