Richard E. Dickerson
Biographie de Richard E. Dickerson
Richard E. Dickerson is Professor Emeritus in the Molecular Biology Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles. It was 1957 when he received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. His research (with William N. Lipscomb) involved the x-ray crystal structure analysis of inorganic molecules (boron hydrides). Postdoctoral work included fellowships at Leeds University, England (in the laboratory of Peter Wheatley of the Inorganic Chemistry Department) and Cambridge University. At Cambridge, in the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (under John C. Kendrew), he helped to solve the first protein structure, that of sperm whale myoglobin. Later, at Caltech (1963), Dr. Dickerson solved and compared the structures of cytochromes, electron-transport proteins from mammals, fish, and microorganisms, with the goal of understanding both how they functioned and how they had evolved from common precursor molecules. More recently, he began a study of the way in which base sequence affects the structure of a DNA double helix, and how specific DNA sequences are recognized by drugs and control molecules. His lab was the first to carry out a single-crystal x-ray structure analysis of a B-DNA helix. Having come into his own in its final years, Dr. Dickerson offers a unique perspective on the discoveries and personalities that contributed to the molecular biology "revolution."