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William H. Stein

William H. SteinAKA William Howard Stein

Born: 25-Jun-1911
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 2-Feb-1980
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Amino-acid analyzer

Military service: Office of Scientific Research Development (1942-45)

American scientist William H. Stein is best known for his studies of the enzyme ribonuclease (RNase), and for work showing how proteins comprised of the same amino acids can have very different characteristics and functions. In 1958 Stein and his colleague and frequent collaborator Stanford Moore developed the first means for automated amino acid analysis, and in 1963 they became the first scientists to lay out the structure and sequence of an enzyme.

Stein was afflicted with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an autoimmune disease of the peripheral nerves, which left him paralyzed after about 1971. He became the first quadriplegic Nobel laureate when he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972, sharing the honor with Moore and with Christian Anfinsen, another scientist who had conducted related studies of RNase at Harvard. Stein's scientific work was of course limited for the last decade of his life, but he hosted several informal seminars on scientific topics in his his home, and occasionally visited his office in his wheelchair until his death in 1980. His obituary for the National Academy of Sciences was written by his friend, Moore.

Father: Fred Michael Stein (banker)
Mother: Beatrice Borg Stein (children's rights activist, m. 26-Nov-1903)
Brother: Fred Micheal Stein, Jr. (health advocate, b. 9-Jul-1905, d. 22-Aug-1997)
Sister: Cecilia Borg Stein Cullman (children's rights activist, b. 7-Apr-1914)
Wife: Phoebe Hockstader (b. circa 1914, m. 1936, d. 1989, three sons)
Son: William H. Stein, Jr. (b. circa 1937)
Son: David F. Stein (b. circa 1939)
Son: Robert J. Stein (b. circa 1944)

    High School: Lincoln School of Teachers College, New York City (attended, 1926-27)
    High School: Phillips Exeter Academy (1929)
    University: BS Chemistry, Harvard University (1933)
    University: MS Chemistry, Columbia University (1935)
    University: PhD, Columbia University (1938)
    Scholar: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1938-52)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1952-65)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Rockefeller University (1965-82)

    ACS Award in Chromatography and Electrophoresis 1964 (with Stanford Moore)
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1972 (with Christian Anfinsen and Stanford Moore)
    ACS Theodore William Richards Medal 1972 (with Stanford Moore)
    CRC Linderstrĝm-Lang Medal 1972 (with Stanford Moore)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Chemical Society
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    Biochemical Society
    Harvey Society
    Journal of Biological Chemistry Editorial Committee, 1955-62
    Journal of Biological Chemistry Editorial Board, 1962-64
    Journal of Biological Chemistry Associate Editor, 1964-68
    Journal of Biological Chemistry Editor, 1968-71
    National Academy of Sciences
    New York Academy of Sciences
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    National Institutes of Health
    Paralyzed 1971 until his death, from effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome
    Heart Attack 2-Feb-1980 (fatal)
    Jewish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Guillain-Barré Syndrome


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