Synthetic enzyme pioneer dies

Ralph F. Hirschmann, a medicinal chemist who was one of the first to synthesize an enzyme in the lab, died last week (June 20) at age 87 from renal disease complications. Image: University of Pennsylvania"He was extraordinarily forward thinking," said organic chemist linkurl:Jeff Winkler,;http://webdev.chem.upenn.edu/chem/research/faculty.php?id=39 Hirschmann's colleague at the University of Pennsylvania. "His work was really revolutionary in that he achieved things that at the time were imagin

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Jul 26, 2009
Ralph F. Hirschmann, a medicinal chemist who was one of the first to synthesize an enzyme in the lab, died last week (June 20) at age 87 from renal disease complications.
Image: University of Pennsylvania
"He was extraordinarily forward thinking," said organic chemist linkurl:Jeff Winkler,;http://webdev.chem.upenn.edu/chem/research/faculty.php?id=39 Hirschmann's colleague at the University of Pennsylvania. "His work was really revolutionary in that he achieved things that at the time were imagined virtually inconceivable." After receiving his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1950, Hirschmann started his work for Merck Research Laboratories, which lasted for almost 40 years. During that time, he and his colleague Robert G. Denkewalter succeeded in constructing the first synthetic enzyme, a feat that had long stumped chemists and "a real landmark achievement in medicinal chemistry," Winkler said. Concurrently, R. Bruce Merrifield and Bernd Gutte of the Rockefeller University in New York also synthesized the...
Journal of the American Chemical Society



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