At the interface of quantum and classical behavior in enzyme catalysis

May 8, 2022

Judith Klinman

Chancellor's Professor Judith Klinman was this year's G.N. Lewis guest lecturer at the College of Chemistry. Prof. Klinman discussed her remarkable career of over five decades of chemical research and some of her important discoveries. Prof. Klinman joins a group of honored scientists going back to 1954 when the first lecture was given by Henry Eyring. We are pleased to make available a recording of her talk. See below for the link. 

Professor Klinman has been performing basic research on the application of chemistry to the understanding of biological processes since 1970. Her research findings have contributed a unique and fundamental understanding of the properties that underlie enzyme catalysis. These studies include the demonstration of hydrogen tunneling and its link to protein dynamics in catalysis; the discovery of a new class of protein-derived cofactors and the unraveling of the mechanisms for these (and similar peptide derived-cofactor) formation and function; and the development of underlying principles of oxygen activation among aerobic enzymes that utilize a wide range of catalytic strategies. In 1978, Prof. Klinman came to Berkeley as an associate professor and the first female faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. 

Prof. Klinman has authored over 300 scientific publications during her career, and her work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mildred Cohn Award and the Merck Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Repligen Award and the Remsen Award from the American Chemical Society, and the Willard Gibbs Medal in Chemistry. For “her discoveries of fundamental chemical and physical principles underlying enzyme catalysis and her leadership in the scientific community,” President Barack Obama presented her with the National Medal of Science at the White House in 2014. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Ministry of Science, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.

From 2000-03, Prof. Klinman served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Berkeley. She has served as President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as on numerous editorial and advisory boards over her career. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Uppsala and from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, Klinman has been an advocate for advancing the role of women in science and recently for engaging the scientific community in moderating climate change.

Judith Klinman, 2022 G.N. Lewis Lecture