Fischer, Edmond

views updated


FISCHER, EDMOND (1920– ), U.S. biochemist. Fischer was born in Shanghai and from age seven was educated in Switzerland where he graduated in biology and chemistry from the University of Geneva and obtained his D.Sc. in chemistry under the direction of Kurt Meyer. After research appointments at the Rockefeller Institute, New York, and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, he joined the department of biochemistry of the University of Washington, Seattle (1953), where he was appointed professor (1961) and professor emeritus from 1990. Fischer's main research discoveries relate to protein phosphorylation, the process involved in vital metabolic activities such as providing energy from stored sugar in active muscles. He and his colleagues helped to elucidate the enzymes controlling phosphorylation and the regulation of these enzymes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1992) jointly with Edwin Krebs. Subsequently he made important contributions to elucidating the way in which protein phosphatases help to orchestrate the response of cells to external stimuli. His many honors include the Werner Medal of the Swiss Chemical Society, the Senior Passano Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1972) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1973). He is an accomplished pianist who contemplated a career in music before turning to chemistry.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]