Memoir

Hans Neurath

University of Washington

October 29, 1909 - April 12, 2002


Election Year: 1961
Scientific Discipline: Biochemistry
Membership Type: Member

Biochemist Hans Neurath was one of the founding fathers of modern protein science. His work testing the properties of proteins and the effects of their denaturation revealed how enzymes become activated from their precursor zymogen forms, how metals such as zinc and magnesium are utilized as enzyme cofactors, and how the structural homology of proteins found in different species can provide clues about their evolutionary history.

Neurath earned a PhD in chemistry from the University of Vienna in 1933. He embarked on postdoctoral research with proteins and fatty acids at the University of London before emigrating to the United States in 1935. Neurath held research positions at the University of Minnesota and Cornell University, then a professorship at Duke University for twelve years.

In 1950, he moved to the University of Washington in Seattle to lead the newly established Department of Biochemistry. Neurath remained at the University of Washington and its affiliated Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for fifty years.

In addition to his scientific achievements, Neurath served as founding editor for two journals, Biochemistry from 1962 to 1988 and Protein Science from 1992 to 1998, and he edited three editions of the four-volume treatise The Proteins between 1953 and 1982. Neurath was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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