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Henrik Kacser

Henrik Kacser (born 22 September 1918, died 13 March 1995) was an influential biochemist and geneticist.

Early life

Kacser was born in Romania in 1918. He went to school in Berlin and did his undergraduate and postgraduate work at the Queen's University of Belfast. There he studied chemistry with a particular interest in physical chemistry. He went to Edinburgh in 1952 as a Nuttfield Fellow under a scheme to introduce physical scientists into biology. This was to become the start of his work as a geneticist/biochemist. In 1955 he became appointed lecturer in the department of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh.

Areas of research

In most of his research his original training physical chemistry is quite evident as he focused mainly on the physical/chemical aspects of biology. Much of his early work includes work on practical chemistry, kinetics of enzyme reactions and very little on genetics. His work falls into four distinct categories: 1. building a foundation in physical chemistry; 2. development of metabolic control analysis; 3. consolidation and 4. expansion. Only in the third phase of his career his expertise in genetics came to light when he set out to find experimental models to demonstrate the correctness of his paper on metabolic control.

Influential publications

Kacsers most important work was published in 1973. Written with J.A. Burns it was called the “Control of Flux” paper. By the mid 1980's the central ideas of metabolic control analysis laid out in this paper were becoming far more widely accepted. Further experimental methods based on the theories laid out in the paper were used to help in the understanding of metabolic regulation and molecular evolution, and to show how metabolic control analysis could be applied to problems in medicine and biotechnology. Another paper published in 1984 showed how the idea of evolution by natural selection could be applied in a constructive way to provide models for the evolution of enzyme catalysis.

Later life

Upon retirement from lecturing in 1988 he became a Fellow of the University of Edinburgh. Kacser was an active geneticist/biochemist right up until his death. He ran a research lab in which he was still working in days before he died. He was elected to the Fellowship of The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1990 and in 1993 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Henrik_Kacser". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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