Artificial city

Arthur D. Riggs, 82, dies; Led the team that invented artificial insulin

“City of Hope convinced me that if my donations were made public, I could encourage others to do the same,” he told the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Dr. Riggs then developed the basics of monoclonal antibodies, again using recombinant DNA technology to trick bacteria into producing proteins that mimic human antibodies. This development has led to major advances in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

In the 2000s, he turned to the question of epigenetics, the study of how the markers attached to a gene modify the way this gene is “read”. Over the life of an organism, a gene will gain or lose certain markers, a process influenced by behavior and changes in its environment.

Epigenetics is an emerging and still poorly understood field. But even after retiring in October 2020, Dr. Riggs continued his research, certain it would lead to even more life-saving breakthroughs.

“I could have retired to a South Pacific mansion and had fun on the beach,” he said in 2021, “but I would have been bored in a week.”

Arthur Dale Riggs was born on August 8, 1939 in Modesto, California, where his family owned a farm.

After losing the property in the Great Depression, his father, John Riggs, moved the family to San Bernardino, where he built and operated a trailer park. Despite only having an eighth grade education, John Riggs was gifted enough in engineering to be able to design the park’s electrical and plumbing systems himself; in his spare time, he built autogyros, which combine elements of an airplane and a helicopter.

Arthur’s mother, Nelly (Calkins) Riggs, a nurse, encouraged her son’s early interest in science, buying him a chemistry set when he was young and driving him to the library, where he spent hours reading science fiction.