Marv Wickens has received a WARF-named Professorship: Max Perutz Professor of Molecular Biology. Prof. Wickens research has always focused on how genes work in animal cells. He has concentrated on events after DNA has been transcribed into RNA, en route to being translated into protein. He has analyzed both how mRNAs are born in the nucleus and how they are controlled in the cytoplasm. He has served extensively with the National Institutes of Health, as a member of the N.I.H. Center for Scientific Review Advisory Committee, and as member and Chairman of the N.I.H. Molecular Biology Study Section. He has been President of the RNA Society, and served as an editor of several scientific journals. He has mentored numerous talented graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at U.W., and is deeply gratified by their own successes.
A pioneer and founder of molecular biology, Max Perutz attended the University of Vienna. In 1936, he moved to the University of Cambridge to begin Ph.D. work with J.D. Bernal, and there established a long-standing connection to the Cavendish laboratory. In 1962, he founded the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology, of which was chairman until 1979. There, he helped create an atmosphere in which new ideas were welcome, and big problems exactly the right ones to take on. The unique blend of creativity, colleagiality and commitment, was pivotal in the birth of molecular biology, and led to eleven Nobel Prizes. As a scientist, Perutz pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography to study the structure of proteins. In 1953 he developed a method to interpret the X-ray diffraction patters of large molecules. Using that approach, he and his colleague, John Kendrew, determined the first protein structures, those of hemoglobin and myoglobin. For this work, they were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Perutz was a prolific and talented writer of popular articles and book reviews, and is remembered not only for his science, but for his interest in and warm support of the work of others. The WARF Named Professorship awards are made possible by the impressive research efforts of UW-Madison faculty and staff. Technology arising from these research efforts is licensed by our patent management organization, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), to industry. Income from successful licenses is returned to the Graduate School to fund a variety of research activities throughout the divisions on campus, including these awards.