Handler, Philip

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HANDLER, PHILIP (1917–1981), U.S. biochemist. Born on a New Jersey farm, Handler taught at Duke University, North Carolina, from 1939. He was a professor of biochemistry there from 1950 and in 1960 assumed the chair of biochemistry at the university. Handler's early research dealt with pellagra, a dietary deficiency disease. He and his collaborators showed that the vitamin nicotinic acid was a component of nad and nadp, two coenzymes important in electron transfer in cells. Handler's later research was concerned with niacin and choline deficiency, purine metabolism, hypertension, and parathyroid tumors. Handler served at various times as president of the American Society of Biochemists and of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He held leading positions in the National Science Foundation, including the chairmanship of the National Science Board, its policy-making body. In 1964 Handler was appointed to the President's Science Advisory Committee. In the same year he was elected to membership of the National Academy of Sciences and in 1969 became president of the Academy, a position he held until June 1981. In October 1981 he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Reagan. He died in December of that year.

He was coauthor of Principles of Biochemistry (1954) and from 1957 was the editor of Geriatrics.


Current Biography Yearbook (1964), 174–6.

[Samuel Aaron Miller]