Yale chemist honored for contributions to teaching generations of biophysicists
Donald Crothers, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, was recently awarded
the 2008 Emily M. Gray Award of the Biophysical Society for “significant
contributions to education through creating rigorous, groundbreaking texts
enriching generations of biophysicists.”
He shared the award with David S. Eisenberg of the University of California,
Los Angeles. The two co-authored the 1979 text “Physical Chemistry with
Applications to the Life Sciences,” which has become a standard textbook
in the field.
The award winners were invited to present the Emily M. Gray Lecture at the
Student Symposium of the 2008 Joint Biophysical Society Annual Meeting and
IUPAB International Biophysics Congress Awards Ceremony on Feb. 4 in Long Beach,
Crothers’ research seeks to understand how the structure, dynamics and
protein-binding properties of nucleic acids contribute to their function. His
current work includes the characterization of nucleic acids’ affinity
for regulatory proteins and the way such proteins deform DNA as part of their
biological function. He also focuses on the dynamics of protein-DNA complexes,
with particular interest in the relationship between the DNA sequence and the
energy and kinetics that characterize DNA bending by proteins.
Crothers began garnering awards for his research talent at an early age as
a National Finalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search in 1954. He went
on to earn a B.S. in chemistry summa cum laude at Yale in 1958. He joined the
Yale chemistry faculty in 1964, after completing his doctoral research at the
University of California, San Diego, in 1963 and his postdoctoral research
at the Max-Planck Institute in Göttingen, Germany.
At Yale, Crothers has trained over 60 Ph.D. students, and led the Department
of Chemistry through periods of growth as its chair 1975-1981 and 1993-1999.
The Biophysical Society, founded in 1956, is a professional, scientific society
for biophysics, whose nearly 8,000 members throughout the U.S. and the world
promote growth in this expanding field through its annual meeting, monthly
journal, and committee and outreach activities. For more information on the
society visit www.biophysics.org.
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