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About the Protein Society

In the autumn of 1985, a group unofficially dubbed “American Protein Scientists” organized an exploratory meeting. They made a concerted effort to include protein researchers of all stripes, and more than 450 biologists, chemists, physicists and mathematicians gathered to share research and brainstorm about the formation of a new society, how it should look, the establishment of a journal and more. By the time the meeting concluded, the idea of The Protein Society was born.

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A Pro Tem Council was organized to shepherd the nascent Society through formation and incorporation, with Ralph Bradshaw as president and Garry Merry as Secretary / Treasurer. They agreed the Society should maintain an international membership and focus on protein research from all over the world, and the name The Protein Society was chosen with that perspective in mind. The year 1987 brought the incorporation, the establishment of the Stein and Moore Award, and the first official Symposium of The Protein Society. Delegates voted on officers prior to the meeting, naming the following to office: David Eisenberg as President; Finn Wold, President-elect; Ken Walsh, Secretary/Treasurer; and Ralph Bradshaw, Gerald Fasman, Robert Hill, Garry Merry, Hans Neurath, and Emil Smith rounded out the Council.

As the Society and the meetings continued to grow, the first issue of Protein Science was published in 1992 with Hans Neurath as Editor-in-Chief. The first European Symposium of The Protein Society was held in Switzerland in 1995. For a more in-depth look at the early years of the Society, we recommend Mark Hermodson’s definitive article on the subject published in Protein Science on the occasion of the Society’s 20th Anniversary.

Finn Wold

The son of Sverre and Herdis Wold, Finn Wold was born in Stavanger, Norway on February 3, 1928. After graduating with a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Oslo in 1950, Finn heeded his pioneering spirit and began graduate studies at Oklahoma State University aided by a Fulbright Fellowship.

Transcending the significance of his earned M.S. in chemistry in 1953, Finn’s stint in Stillwater culminated in marriage to Bernadine Moe, now residing in Houston.

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Subsequently, Bernie and Finn moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with Clinton E. Ballou and received his doctorate in biochemistry in 1956 for developing novel strategies for synthesis of biologically active phosphate esters. During postdoctoral studies at Berkeley, Finn’s life-long love affair with enzymes commenced with characterization of equilibria and kinetic parameters of enolase.

Armed with strong credentials in bioorganic chemistry and protein structure-function analysis, Finn joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1957 (the same year in which he became a naturalized  U.S. citizen) as an Assistant Professor, and advanced to the rank of tenured Associate Professor in 1962. In 1966, he accepted a Professorship of Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, and from 1974 - 1979 served as Head of the Department of Biochemistry in  the College of Biological Sciences, St. Paul. During his term as Head, Finn worked to elevate the level of collaboration between the two departments and mitigate costly duplication of effort.

In 1982, Finn accepted his final academic appointment as Welch Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. During his memorial service, Jack DeMoss, the past Department Head who recruited Finn, fondly remembered his impact and contributions, “He was ever seeking out challenging scientific discussions, interactions with creative young minds and new innovative experimental approaches. His thoughtful and creative approach to science and his youthful passion for ideas enriched all of the academic communities he graced during his career. His strong sense of community responsibility was reflected in his numerous professional activities throughout the scientific community on editorial boards, on advisory committees at granting agencies, on boards, and as officers of professional societies, and through visiting professorships at Universities throughout the world."

- Bio courtesy of Protein Science