2013 Fritz London Memorial Lecture with Judith Klinman - Moving through Barriers: Unlocking the Mysteries of How Enzymes Really Work


Judith P. Klinman received her A.B. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in l962 and l966 and then carried out postdoctoral research with Dr. David Samuel at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and Dr. Irwin Rose at the Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia. She was an independent researcher at the Institute for Cancer Research for many years, before moving to the University of California at Berkeley in l978, where she is now a Professor of the Graduate School in the Departments of Chemistry and of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Professor Klinman's research has contributed greatly to our understanding of enzyme catalysis. Early in her career, she developed the application of kinetic isotope effects to enzyme catalysis, and showed how this methodology can uncover chemical steps and determine kinetic order and substrate dissociation constants. In l990 she demonstrated the presence of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopa quinone at the active site of a copper-containing amine oxidase, overcoming years of incorrect speculation on the active site structure and opening up the field of protein-derived quino-cofactors. Since the l990s, Klinman's kinetic studies have demonstrated quantum mechanical hydrogen tunneling in enzyme-catalyzed hydrogen activation reactions, and have provided a direct link between dynamical motions within a protein and the bond making/bond breaking processes that they catalyze. Finally, Klinman has developed a unique set of experimental probes for determining the mechanism of oxygen activation in redox enzymes. These probes shed light on how proteins can reductively activate oxygen to free radical intermediates, while avoiding oxidative damage.

Aside from being the first woman faculty member in the physical sciences at UC Berkeley, Klinman was also the first woman Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2000 to 2003. During her tenure at Berkeley she has been a Chancellor's Professor (twice), a Guggenheim Fellow and a Miller Fellow (twice). She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and has received the Repligen Award and the Remsen Award from the American Chemical Society and the Merck Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is currently a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Uppsala, Sweden in 2000, an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, and the I.A. Scott Medal for excellence in biological chemistry in 2012. Klinman has trained over 100 graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scholars, and has hosted a very large number of undergraduates in her laboratory.

3:30 PM, Wednesday April 24th, 2013, Rm 128