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Symposium Sat., March 25, to honor Professor Daniel Koshland Jr.: biochemist, visionary and UC Berkeley benefactor
23 Mar 2000

By Robert Sanders, Public Affairs

BERKELEY -- Biochemist Daniel E. Koshland Jr., who used to sign his opinion pieces "Dr. Noitall" when he was editor of Science, will be honored for his opinionated views and innovative science with a symposium on Saturday, March 25.

Hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, where Koshland obtained his BS in chemistry in 1941 and has served on the faculty since 1965, the symposium is billed as "Celebrating 60 Years of Innovation: The Scientific Career of Dr. Noitall."

"We're doing this to recognize the great science Dan has carried out in his own lab as well as fostered on the campus," said Robert Tjian, professor of molecular and cell biology and one of the organizers of the symposium. "He's a man of incredible energy and vision in steering the Berkeley campus in the right direction in terms of biological research."

In the 1980s, Koshland spearheaded a reorganization of the biological sciences at UC Berkeley that positioned the university at the cutting edge of biology, and he is one of the forces behind a new research and educational push called the UC Berkeley Health Sciences Initiative.

The symposium will feature talks by two Nobel Laureates - David Baltimore, now president of Caltech and a 1975 laureate for his work on tumor viruses, and Joseph L. Goldstein, who received the prize in 1985 for discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. Four of his former students also will give talks.

Open to the public, the symposium will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in Chan Shun Auditorium, in the campus's Valley Life Sciences Building.

Koshland, who turns 80 on March 30, is a professor in the graduate school at UC Berkeley and one of the most respected scientists in the country. His reputation as a statesman of science rests in part on his 10-year tenure, from 1985 to 1994, as editor of Science, considered the most important editorial position in American science.

As editor Koshland wrote many editorials, and he came up with the name "Dr. Noitall" as a guise for writing humorous opinion pieces. The name is a double pun that lampoons know-it-all scientists who at the same time dismiss the work of others as trivial.

Before taking the position at Science, he made a name for himself by challenging the reigning theory of how enzymes work, and, through painstaking research, by proving he was right. Aside from his scientific work and leadership on the UC Berkeley campus, he also has donated to a wide variety of campus scholarship and research funds.

"Dan Koshland is a rare bird," said Goldstein, a professor at the University of Texas at Southwestern, upon presenting Koshland with the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation Special Achievement in Medical Science Award in 1998. "His career in science is exemplified by a distinction that is achieved by only a handful of scientists who are held in universally high esteem by their colleagues because of their human qualities of honesty, kindness, unselfishness, originality and wisdom, and in Dan's case there's also wit."

In receiving the award, Koshland was cited "for a lifetime devoted to elevating science to its highest level - exemplified by accomplishments on diverse fronts as a visionary biochemist, tireless institution-builder, and eloquent public communicator."

He has received numerous other awards, including the National Medal of Science, the Edgar Fahs Smith and Pauling Awards of the American Chemical Society, the Rosenstiel Award of Brandeis University, the Waterford Prize, and the Merck Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Koshland also has served as president of the American Society of Biological Chemists.

Program for Saturday, March 25, 1-5 p.m.:

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. David Baltimore, president, Caltech.
"Why Should Cells Die When They Can Fight Back?"

Dr. Joseph Goldstein, professor, University of Texas at Southwestern.
"The Cholesterol Feedback Story"


Other presenters:
Dr. Alex Levitski, professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
"From Enzyme Regulation To Signal Transduction Therapy: An Unfinished Journey from Berkeley to Jerusalem"

Dr. Daria Mochly-Rosen, professor, Stanford University
"Protein Kinase C Specificity: Location, Location, Location"

Dr. Robert Tjian, professor, University of California, Berkeley
"Assembly of Macromolecular Machines that Decode the Genome"

Dr. Jean Y. J. Wang, professor, University of California, San Diego
"Amplification of Apoptosis Signal in Cell Killing by Tumor Necrosis Factor"


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