Daniel E. Koshland Jr.

National Medal of Science

Biological Sciences

For profoundly influencing the understanding of how proteins function through his induced-fit model of enzyme action. His incisive analysis of bacterial chemotaxis has led to a deeper understanding of the molecular basis of memory and adaptation.

For profoundly influencing the understanding of how proteins function through his induced-fit model of enzyme action. His incisive analysis of bacterial chemotaxis has led to a deeper understanding of the molecular basis of memory and adaptation.

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Birth
March 30, 1920
Age Awarded
70
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Induced-Fit Model Of Enzyme Action
Awarded by
George H. W. Bush
Education
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
Areas of Impact
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
University of California, Berkeley
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Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., was a giant in the field of biochemistry, making important strides in knowledge of the properties and activities of enzymes and bacteria. But during his tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science, he was also known to conduct fictitious interviews with a Dr. Noitall — that is, Dr. Know-It-All.

Koshland’s humor was one of his defining characteristics, both in the classroom and in the laboratory. But so was his force of intellect: In the late 1950s, Koshland developed the concept of “induced fit,” in which a substrate, or chemical substance, stretches inside an enzyme to create a better mold in chemical reactions. Induced fit theory debunked prevailing thinking that substrates fit perfectly into enzymes like a lock and key. Later in the 1970s, he discovered that bacteria have a primitive type of “memory,” noting that they have external sensors that help them respond to chemicals. With the help of colleagues, Koshland devised a machine that tracked bacterial movements in three dimensions, proving that bacteria respond to stimuli differently over time. 

By Lauren Clason

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