The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Harry Gray has been selected as the keynote speaker for the 7th annual Lester Andrews Graduate Research Symposium. This year's symposium will take place at MSU on May 28-29.
Harry Barkus Gray was born November 14, 1935 in Woodburn, Kentucky (B.S., Western Kentucky University, 1957). He did graduate work with Dr. Fred Basolo and Dr. R. G. Pearson at Northwestern University from 1957 to 1960. After earning his Ph.D., he spent a year (1960-61) as a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. C. J. Ballhausen at the University of Copenhagen. He moved to New York in 1961 to take up an appointment as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University (Associate Professor 1963-65; Professor, 1965-66). In 1966, he moved to the California Institute of Technology where he is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and Founding Director of the Beckman Institute.
Dr. Gray has won numerous awards such as the 1970 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the 1979 Tolman Award, the 1986 National Medal of Science, the 1990 AIC Gold Medal, the 1992 Priestley Medal, the 2000 Harvey Prize, the 2004 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, the 2004 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the 2009 Welch Award, and the 2013 Othmer Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Chemistry and Science. He was also inducted into the Alpha Chi Sigma Hall of Fame in 2012.
Dr. Gray's research program addresses a wide range of fundamental problems in biophysics, biochemistry, and inorganic chemistry. Electron transfer (ET) chemistry is a unifying theme for much of this research. Over the past twenty-five years, the Gray Group has been measuring the kinetics of long-range ET reactions in metalloproteins labeled with inorganic redox reagents. Early research by his lab members showed that details of the internal structures of the proteins dominate the ET rates. Current research is aimed at understanding how intermediate protein radicals accelerate long-range ET. In collaboration with Jay R. Winkler of the Beckman Institute at Caltech, they have developed new techniques for measuring ET rates in crystals of Ru-, Os-, and Re-modified azurins, as well as crystals of Fe(III)-cytochrome c doped with Zn(II)-cytochrome c. This method of integrating photosensitizers into protein crystals has provided a powerful new tool for studying biochemical reaction dynamics. The Gray/Winkler Group is also using ET chemistry to probe the dynamics of protein folding in cytochrome c. Dr. Gray has published over seven hundred research papers and seventeen books during his career.
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