American Philosophical Society
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102. Chemistry and Chemical Biochemistry[X]
1Name:  Sir Alan Roy Fersht
 Institution:  University of Cambridge
 Year Elected:  2008
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  102. Chemistry and Chemical Biochemistry
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1943
Alan Fersht is the Herchel Smith Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cambridge University and Director of the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering. He enjoys combining the methods of chemistry with those of molecular biology for studying complex problems in the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. In particular, he works in the general area of the structure, activity, stability and folding of proteins, and the role of protein misfolding and instability in cancer and disease. He was the first to apply site-directed mutagenesis to analyze the structure and activity of proteins and the strength and specificity of protein interactions and is one of the founders of protein engineering. His current work is mainly in two specific areas. The first is in elucidating at atomic resolution how proteins fold and unfold, using advanced structural and biophysical methods on engineered proteins. His method of Phi-value analysis of mutated proteins is now the standard procedure for experimentally characterizing transition states for protein folding and unfolding and benchmarking simulation at atomic resolution. The second is using the same structural and biophysical methods to study how mutation affects proteins in the cell cycle, particularly the tumor suppressor p53, in order to design novel anti-cancer drugs that function by restoring the activity of mutated proteins. Alan Fersht is a fellow of the Royal Society, a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a member of EMBO and Academia Europea. He has won several international awards, including the FEBS Anniversary Prize (1980); the NOVO Biotechnology Award (1986); the Charmian Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1986); the Gabor Medal of the Royal Society (1991); the Max Tishler Lecture and Prize, Harvard University (1992); the FEBS Data Lecture and Medal (1993); the Jubilee Lecture and Harden Medal of the Biochemical Society (1993); the Feldberg Foundation Prize (1996); the Distinguished Service Award for Protein Engineering, Miami Nature Biotechnology Winter Symposium (1997); the Davy Medal of the Royal Society (1998); the Chaire Bruylants (1999); the Natural Products Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1999); the Anfinsen (1999) and Stein and Moore (2001) Awards of the Protein Society; the Bader Award of the American Chemical Society; the Linderstrom-Lang Prize and Medal (2002); the Bijvoet Medal (2008); the G.N. Lewis Medal (2008), and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (2020). He was knighted in 2003 for his work on protein science, and he has honorary degrees from Uppsala, Brussels, Weizmann Institute, Imperial College, The Hebrew University, and Arhus University. He is associate editor of PNAS, senior editor of PEDS, and co-chairman of the editorial board of ChemBioChem. Alan Fersht was elected an international member of the American Philosophical Society in 2008.
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