Paul D. Boyer

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Paul Delos Boyer was born July 31, 1918, in Provo, Utah. He
received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University
in 1939 and obtained a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Scholarship for graduate studies. Five days before leaving for
Wisconsin, Paul married a beautiful and talented coed, Lyda Whicker.
Together they have tghree children, Gail, Hali and Douglas, and eight

After he received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the
University of Wisconsin in 1943, he spent years at Stanford
University on a war-related research project dedicated to stabilization
of serum alubumin for transfusions. He began his independent
research career at the University of Minnesota and introduced kinetic,
isotopic, and chemical methopds for investigating enzyne
mechanisms. In 1955, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and
worked with Professor Hugo Theorell on the mechanism of alcohol
dehydrogenase. In 1956, he accepted a Hill Foundation Professorship
and moved to the medical campus of the Universithy of Minnesota. In
1959-60, he served as Chairman of the Biochemistry Section ofthe
American Chemical Society and in 1969-70 as President of the
American Society of Biological Chemists.

Since 1963, he has been a Professor in the Department of Chemistry
and Biochemistry at UCLA. in 1965, he became the Founding
Director of the Molecular Biology Institute and spearheaded the
construction of the building and the organization of an
interdepartmental Ph.D. program. This institutional service did not
diminish the creativity and originality of his researchprogram, which
led to three postulates for the binding mechanism for ATP synthesis:
i.e. that energy input was not used primarily to form ATP but to
promote the binding of phosphate and mostly the release of tightly
bound ATP; that three identical catalytic sites went through
compulsory, sequential binding changes; and that the binding changes
of the catalytic subunites, circularly arranged on the periphery of the
enzyme, were driven by the rotation of a smaller internal subunit.




Paul Boyer was Editor or Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Biochemistry from 1963-89. He was Editor of the classic series, The Enzymes. In 1981, he was Faculty Research Lecturer at UCLA. He received the Rose Award of the American Society of Chemistry and Molecular Biology in 1989; Honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stockholm (1974), Minnesota (1996), and Wisconsin (1998); and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997.

updated 12.9.02 by Alice Ramirez