Bruce Merrifield, one of the fathers of modern peptide synthesis and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, died of a long illness last week (May 14) at his home in Cresskill, N.J., according to Rockefeller University.Merrifield was best known as the creator of solid phase peptide synthesis, a process that enabled the systematic study of the structure of proteins. In 1963, he published an influential paper describing the binding of a peptide to an insoluble support so that reagents can be washed away at the end of each synthesis step. More than 20 years later, the idea earned him a Nobel Prize."Merrifield's method made peptides accessible to the non-specialist, and had vast ramifications in many areas of modern biochemistry," said George Barany, a former graduate student of Merrifield's, now at the University of Minnesota.But in the 1960s, there was not unanimous support for Merrifield's idea. At...

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