Bruce Merrifield dies

The Nobel laureate and icon in the field of peptide synthesis was 84

David Secko
May 22, 2006
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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