Christopher T. Walsh is a highly influential chemical biology professor, former MIT faculty member, and director of the Chemistry Department. January 10, died at the age of 79.
At the time of his death, Walsh was Hamilton Kuhn Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, but began his career in 1972 as a co-appointed faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biology at MIT. Walsh said he spent 15 years at MIT and from 1982 until 1987 he was head of the chemistry department.
“Chris T. Walsh was a giant of chemical biology and made groundbreaking contributions to antibiotic resistance, enzymatic reaction mechanisms, and the biosynthesis of natural products,” says the professor. Troy Van Boorhis, the current head of the MIT Chemistry Division. “He was a leader during his faculty days at MIT and a valued member of the Greater Boston area chemical community. He will be sorely missed.”
A native of Boston, Walsh’s educational background began at the Roxbury Latin School, earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University. After completing postdoctoral research at Brandeis University, he worked as a co-appointed faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Chemistry at MIT, specializing in the biosynthesis of antibiotics and other biologically and medically active natural products. Started independent research focusing on enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. biology.
Professor of Chemistry and Biology Catherine Drennan It would take “a book’s worth of space” to adequately describe what Walsh meant to her as a collaborator, mentor, and friend. “We had so many great conversations about science, often with students gathering around us looking at new crystal structures and in front of graphics computers,” she says Drennan. Reminisce. “And beyond the professional guidance that began early in my career and past the end of formal scientific collaboration, he was a friend. when my mom had cancer, my cell phone rang, it was Chris, he had heard about my mom’s diagnosis and wanted to know if anything could be done. Whoever said, ‘Don’t meet a hero,’ never met Chris Walsh.”
in 2010 A reflection of his career published in journal of biochemistry, Walsh described his work “at the three intersections of biology, chemistry and medicine.” For his leadership, expertise, and extraordinary contributions to his field, he has been made a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and has received numerous prestigious awards. These include the Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and the Welch Award shared with longtime friend and collaborator Novartis Professor Emeritus. Joanne Stub.
“Since the early 1970s, I have interacted with and been inspired by this talented scientist,” says Stubbe. “I loved the way he taught me the challenges and his amazing ability to identify and elucidate so many unexpected chemical changes. Enterobactin biosynthetic enzyme phosphopantetheinil Transformation! True! I will, so don’t miss it [Walsh]”
Walsh has authored over 800 articles and 10 books, of which ,war “Mechanisms of Enzymatic Reaction” grew out of Walsh’s Teachings 5.50, a graduate course of the same name on the chemical mechanisms of biological transformations. Walsh’s seventh year as a faculty member at MIT, published in 1979, the book holds the distinction of being a timeless text in the field. “‘Enzyme Mechanisms’ was the first study to apply the rigorous logic of chemistry to metabolic reactions,” said Professors Roger Firmenich and Georges Firmenich of Natural Products Chemistry. Ronald T. Raines“Its groundbreaking thinking attracted me to work with (along with hundreds of other people!) as an MIT undergraduate. [Walsh] Research on the search and utilization of enzymes. I have countless memories of his playful humor and am grateful for his inspiration as a highly agile and prolific scientist and for his role as mentor throughout his life. “
Walsh’s unparalleled influence in the field of chemical biology is surpassed only by his invaluable devotion to his students and mentees, including Vice Chair and Ivan R. Cottrell Professor of Immunology. Elizabeth M. Nolan, conducted postdoctoral research in Walsh’s lab at Harvard Medical School. “His intellect, wisdom, and ability to see the big picture were astounding and an invaluable mentor. His contributions to chemistry, biology, and more are countless. He will be sorely missed.” I guess.”
Walsh was bequeathed to his wife of 57 years, Diana Chapman Walsh, honorary life member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and honorary president of Wellesley College. His daughter, Alison Kurian, professor of oncology at Stanford Medical School. and his beloved grandson, Sean.