- Kendrew, Sir John Cowdery
died Aug. 23, 1997, Cambridge, CambridgeshireBritish biochemist.He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and as a Cambridge fellow (1947–75) went on to study the structure of proteins. He determined the structure of the muscle protein myoglobin, which stores oxygen for use by the muscles. Using X-ray diffraction techniques and computers, he devised a three-dimensional model of the arrangement of the amino acid units in the myoglobin molecule, an achievement for which he shared a 1962 Nobel Prize with Max Ferdinand Perutz.
* * *▪ 1998British biochemist (b. March 24, 1917, Oxford, Eng.—d. Aug. 23, 1997, Cambridge, Eng.), deduced the structure of the muscle protein myoglobin, and for this work he was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with colleague Max Perutz, who worked out the structure of the related protein, hemoglobin. Kendrew's work was groundbreaking because it was the first time that the three-dimensional conformation of a protein had been solved, and this knowledge led to the understanding of how myoglobin binds and transports oxygen in muscles. He studied physical chemistry at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A.; 1939), but his studies were interrupted by World War II. Kendrew joined the Air Ministry to work on airborne radar and then served as scientific adviser to the Allied Air Command, eventually finishing his wartime service in Southeast Asia. There he met the physicist and X-ray crystallographer J.D. Bernal, who stimulated his interest in the study of proteins. Kendrew began working at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge with Perutz, who was using X-ray crystallographic techniques to unravel protein structure. Kendrew received a doctorate in physics in 1949, whereupon he turned his attention to myoglobin. By 1959, as the result of laborious studies of the patterns into which crystallized samples of myoglobin diffracted X-ray beams, he had elucidated the protein's structure. After receiving the Nobel Prize, Kendrew shifted from laboratory work to administration. He served as deputy chairman of the department at Cambridge that he and Perutz created, the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology (now called the Laboratory of Molecular Biology). His influence led to the creation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Ger., where he served (1975-82) as director. In 1981 he was appointed president of St. John's College, Oxford. Kendrew became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1960, was knighted in 1963, and received the Royal Medal in 1965. He founded the Journal of Molecular Biology in 1959 and served as its editor in chief until 1987. He was the author of The Thread of Life: An Introduction to Molecular Biology (1966).
* * *▪ British biochemistborn March 24, 1917, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Eng.died Aug. 23, 1997, Cambridge, CambridgeshireBritish biochemist who determined the three-dimensional structure of the muscle protein myoglobin, which stores oxygen in muscle cells. For his achievement he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Max Ferdinand Perutz (Perutz, Max Ferdinand) in 1962.Kendrew was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving his Ph.D. there in 1949. In 1946–47 he and Perutz founded the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology at Cambridge. They used the technique of X-ray crystallography to study the structures of proteins, with Perutz studying hemoglobin and Kendrew trying to determine the structure of the somewhat simpler molecule of myoglobin. By 1960, with the use of special diffraction techniques and the help of computers to analyze the X-ray data, Kendrew was able to devise a three-dimensional model of the arrangement of the amino acid units in the myoglobin molecule, which was the first time this had been accomplished for any protein.A fellow of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, from 1947 to 1975, Kendrew was also deputy chairman of the Medical Research Council Unit and, from 1971, chairman of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council. He was knighted in 1974 and became president of St. John's College, Oxford, in 1981.
* * *