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Emeritus professor Daniel E. Koshland Jr. wins 2006 Welch Award in Chemistry

daniel koshlandPhoto courtesy of Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology

UC professor emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology, Daniel E. Koshland Jr., was named the 2006 winner of the prestigious Welch Award in Chemistry, recognizing his contributions to biochemistry and medical science. Welch Foundation chairman and director, J. Evans Attwell, said, "It is difficult to overestimate the importance of his discoveries and their potential to ultimately improve life."

Koshland received his B.S. in chemistry at UC Berkeley in 1941, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1949. He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1965. Koshland’s "induced fit" theory of enzyme interaction, which posits that enzymes change their shape as they react with other molecules, was first proposed in 1958 and has contributed to advances in drug design and hormone interaction, among other fields.

Koshland was also largely responsible for the reorganization of the biological sciences at Berkeley and the concepts behind Berkeley’s Health Sciences Initiative. In the '80s he headed a decade-long campaign to modernize Berkeley's biological sciences. This included combining the campus's 12 small biology departments into three large ones, raising funds for two new biology buildings (including Koshland Hall, which was dedicated in his name in 1992) and renovating a third.

As editor of Science magazine from 1985 to 1996, Koshland made several major changes. Most significantly, he shifted the membership of its editorial board from writers to scientists with Ph.Ds. This meant that published articles were chosen for their scientific excitement rather than verbal artistry. When he began as editor, Koshland often relied on his friends for articles. However, by the time he left the magazine, so many scientists were submitting articles that only one in 10 was accepted for publication. He left Science to return to his Berkeley lab.

He has received numerous other awards, including the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation Special Achievement in Medical Science Award, the National Medal of Science, the Edgar Fahs Smith and Pauling Awards of the American Chemical Society, the Rosenstiel Award of Brandeis University, the Waterford Prize, and the Merck Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Koshland also has served as president of the American Society of Biological Chemists. He is currently doing research in using energy from sunlight to make hydrocarbon fuels.

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