Klinman wins Gibbs Medal

April 11, 2017

Judith Klinman

Chemistry professor emerita Judith Klinman has received the 2017 Willard Gibbs Medal Award of the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society.

Klinman was cited for her groundbreaking discoveries in enzyme catalysis, including the application of kinetic isotope effects and the discovery that protein structures have evolved to catalyze effective quantum mechanical tunneling.

The Willard Gibbs Medal Award was founded by William A. Converse, a former Chicago Section Chair, in 1910 and first awarded in 1911. Gibbs was chosen to be the model for the award as an outstanding example of creativity in scientific investigation. The purpose of the award was and is “to publicly recognize eminent chemists who, through years of application and devotion, have brought to the world developments that enable everyone to live more comfortably and to understand this world better.”

Klinman received her A.B. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in l962 and l966 and then carried out postdoctoral research with David Samuel at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and with Irwin Rose at the Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia. She was an independent researcher at the Institute for Cancer Research for several years before coming to College of Chemistry in l978. She is a Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3).

She will give the 106th Willard Gibbs Award address at a banquet held in her honor on May 19 in the Chicago area. Other recent chemistry department winners of the award include John Hartwig (2015), Robert Bergman (2011) and Carolyn Bertozzi (2008).