Academician Artur Lind (1927-1989) is the founder of Estonian molecular biology, and taught most of Estonia’s experts in the discipline. A doctor and surgeon by occupation, Lind broke new ground in the 1960s by establishing a molecular biology laboratory at Tartu University, thereby laying a solid foundation for a generation of Estonian scientists to follow in his wake. Lind’s laboratory launched the careers of 8 professors still active in the field, all of whom used the facilities provided to begin their research studying protein synthesis. Lind’s students include internationally renowned scientists and academicians such as Mart Saarma and Richard Villems, and professors Mart Ustav, Jaanus Remme and Andres Metspalu. The latter describes Artur Lind as the best possible teacher a young aspiring scientist could wish for, as his method favoured letting each student experience both success and failure as merited by the chosen avenues of research without unduly intruding in the process. Professor
Lind belongs to the small elite of Estonian scientists who have been successful in establishing a dynamic school of thought that thrives until this day. The tightly-knit nucleus of individuals grouped around Lind acted as a centre of gravity, attracting ever increasing numbers of scientists, which eventually flourished into Estonia’s very own establishment of molecular biologists and researchers in related fields currently numbering around 200 persons.
Lind’s academic work has had far-reaching influences. His accomplishments include research into diverse fields of microbiology such as the biological synthesis of proteins, methodology of molecular biology, RNA structures, methods in ascertaining DNA sequencing, and studies into the structure and functioning principles of oncogenes and ribosomes. Lind is credited with being the first person to isolate low-molecular-weight RNA from eukaryote ribosomes. In 1980 Lind was awarded the Estonian SSR’s national prize for his achievements. In 2001, the Estonian Genetics Centre founded the Artur Lind Stipend to support the academic careers of students engaged in research in biology and genetics. The building located at Sepapaja 6 is named in honour of the famous Estonian scientist.