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Johann Deisenhofer

Johann DeisenhoferBorn: 30-Sep-1943
Birthplace: Zusamaltheim, Germany

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Proteins of photosynthesis

Military service: German Army (1964-65)

German-American chemist Johann Deisenhofer used and advanced x-ray crystallography to explore the chemical reactions of photosynthesis, the vital chemical process that enables plants and some bacteria to convert energy from the sun into food and oxygen. With Robert Huber and Hartmut Michel in the early 1980s, he was the first scientist to reveal the atomic structure of the photosynthetic reaction center, a complex of three types of proteins that acts as a central control for photosynthesis. His discovery has helped scientists understand membrane-bound proteins, which are necessary to the healthy functions of enzymes, hormones, and other proteins. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988, and became an American citizen in 2001. He has also studied crystallographic software, membrane proteins, and water-soluble proteins.

Father: Johann Deisenhofer (farmer)
Mother: Thekla Magg Deisenhofer (farmer)
Sister: Antonie (b. 1948)
Wife: Kirsten Fischer Lindahl (microbiologist, m. 1989)

    High School: Holbein Gymnasium, Augsburg, Germany (1963)
    University: Technical University of Munich (1971)
    University: PhD, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany (1974)
    Scholar: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany (1974-88)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas at Dallas (1988-)

    ACS Biological Physics Prize 1986 (with Hartmut Michel)
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1988 (with Robert Huber and Hartmut Michel)
    Otto Bayer Prize 1988 (with Hartmut Michel)
    Argonne Distinguished Fellow 2001
    Academia Europaea
    American Association for the Advancement of Science 1992
    American Crystallographic Association
    Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governors
    Biophysical Society
    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
    Democratic National Committee
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    German Society for Biological Chemistry
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Researcher (1988-)
    John Kerry for President
    Keeping America's Promise
    National Academy of Sciences 1997
    Obama for America
    Obama Victory Fund 2012
    Protein Society
    Scientists and Engineers for America
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    Bavarian Ancestry
    German Ancestry
    Naturalized US Citizen 2001

Author of books:
The Photosynthetic Reaction Center (1993, photosynthesis; with James R. Norris)

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