Adler and DeLuca 90th celebration logo
Adler and DeLuca Celebration

The year 2020 marked an important and impressive occasion for two Emeritus Professors in the Department of Biochemistry. Both Julius Adler and Hector DeLuca celebrated their 90th birthdays.

The Department was hoping to celebrate Adler and DeLuca with a reception earlier this year, but COVID-19 halted those plans. Instead, we’ve asked former lab members and alumni to help us honor them by sharing some of the anecdotes and messages of appreciation you would have heard in person.

So grab some refreshments, pull up a chair, and read on as our Biochemistry friends regale us with tales of admiration, inspiration, and amusement. If you have your own tales or photos to share, please do. You can submit them here, and we’ll post them on our site.

Photo of Julius Adler
Adler received his Ph.D. under Henry Lardy and then became a faculty member in 1960. In 1996 he became Emeritus.

When Julius accepted me as a graduate student, I was an immature boy who had never before lived away from home, who wanted desperately to be a great scientist, but who had little, if any, idea how to go about it. Fortunately for me, Julius had the patience of a saint, the temperament of a rabbi, and the knowledge of a first-class scientist. Oscar Wilde once said, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” When I look back on the past 60 years, I realize that it was Julius who made my career in science possible. Thank you, Julius. Patience: I loved to work late into the night. Julius tried to explain to me why it was important to be present during the day, as well, but I countered all his arguments, until – out of frustration – he said, “Someday I will have to write a letter of recommendation for you, and . . . “. From then on, I was in the lab bright and early. 

Read More from Melvin L. DePamphilis, Ph.D. 1970, and others


Photo of Hector DeLuca
DeLuca earned his Ph.D. under Harry Steenbock and became a faculty member in 1959. He became an Emeritus Professor in 2011.

Sometimes in life brief impromptu conversations have lasting impact. One morning after the very early Friday morning DeLuca Lab Meeting, I lingered with a few other graduate students over breakfast talking about the value of basic science and how critical it was to society. Someone in the group opined on how frustrating it was that the public did not understand true basic science. Overhearing a few youthful, somewhat disparaging comments over the public’s lack of appreciation for basic science, Hector joined the conversation. He passionately told us that we as scientists must be able to clearly articulate to those supporting the research why it is important. He continued…the farmers in Wisconsin that support UW deserve to understand how the research at the University will benefit their farms, the state, and society.

Read More from Tom Brown, Ph.D. 1989, and others