Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1997
P. D. Boyer, J. E. Walker and J. C. Skou
for elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and discovery of an ion-transporting enzyme
John E. Walker
UK citizen. Born 1941 Yorkshire, England
In 1960, Walker went to St Catherine's College, Oxford, and received the BA degree in chemistry in 1964. In 1965, he began research on peptide antibiotics with E. P. Abraham at Oxford, and was awarded the DPhil degree in 1969.
From 1969 to 1971 he worked at the School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and from 1971 to 1974 in France, supported by fellowships from NATO and EMBO, first at the CNRS at Gif-sur-Yvette and then at the Institut Pasteur. He met Fred Sanger at a workshop at Cambridge University in 1974, and this led to an invitation to work at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in the Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry (PNAC) Division. This turned into a long-term position and he is still based at LMB. At first, he analysed the sequences of proteins and then uncovered details of the modified genetic code in mitochondria. In 1978, he decided to apply protein chemical methods to membrane proteins.
In 1959, he received the A. T. Clay Gold Medal, in 1994 he was awarded the Johnson Foundation Prize by the University of Pennsylvania, in 1996 he won the CIBA Medal and Prize of the Biochemical Society, and the Peter Mitchell Medal of the European Bioenergetics Congress, and in 1997 the Gaetano Quagliariello Prize for Research in Mitochondria by the University of Bari, Italy. In 1995, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1997 was made a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and became an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.
The information on this page is based on content at Nobelprize.org © The Nobel Foundation and John Walker's page at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit. Photo credit Medical Research Council Mitochondrial Biology Unit
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