Advertisement

A Loyal Friend of ASBMB and JBC: Howard Schachman, 1918–2016

Open AccessPublished:September 09, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.E116.000003
      On August 5, 2016, Howard Kapnek Schachman died. Science lost a giant, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) lost one of their own. Passionately committed to rigorous science and enlightened science policy, Schachman will be eulogized by many in the next weeks, and the details of his life will be presented in full obituaries. Here, I wanted to take the Editor's pulpit to pay homage to Howard Schachman's deep linkages to ASBMB and in particular to the JBC.
      Schachman's first paper was published in JBC in 1942 (
      • Schachman H.K.
      An alignment chart for the computation of ultracentrifugation results.
      ) when he was a technical assistant with Max Lauffer at Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in Princeton, NJ and had not yet started graduate school. A single-author paper, it describes a method to analyze data from analytical ultracentrifugation experiments. Schachman's scientific career would reflect this early affinity for methodological development as well as his appreciation of the JBC, in which he published 40 of his 166 papers. Two of these are JBC Classics—one reporting a sedimentation equilibrium method for the simultaneous measurement of partial specific volume and molecular weight using microgram quantities of proteins (
      • Edelstein S.J.
      • Schachman H.K.
      The simultaneous determination of partial specific volumes and molecular weights with microgram quantities.
      ) and the other describing heterotropic effects on aspartate transcarbamylase from binding of ATP and CTP (
      • Newell J.O.
      • Markby D.W.
      • Schachman H.K.
      Cooperative binding of the bisubstrate analog N-(phosphonacetyl)-l-aspartate to aspartate transcarbamoylase and the heterotropic effects of ATP and CTP.
      ). A discussion by Nicole Kresge, Robert Simoni, and the late Robert Hill about these two classic papers provides fascinating background on Schachman's scientific path, including his ongoing love of aspartate transcarbamylase (
      • Kresge N.
      • Simoni R.D.
      • Hill R.L.
      Innovations in ultracentrifugation and an analysis of aspartate transcarbamoylase: the work of Howard K. Schachman.
      ). A role model for all of us to emulate, Schachman's rigorous approach to his science exploited powerful biophysical methods to reveal fundamental, physiologically relevant insights.
      While maintaining his passion for research, Schachman also brought his considerable energy and deeply held beliefs to bear on science policy. Schachman was president of the American Society of Biological Chemists (now the ASBMB) in 1987 and subsequently became president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in 1988. Serving as Chair of the ASBC/ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee from 1989 to 2000, he raised awareness about issues related to federal funding of science, scientific misconduct, and policies and behaviors that he felt undermined the free pursuit of knowledge. To gain a sense of this part of Howard Schachman's career, read the “Reflections” article that he published in the JBC in 2006 (
      • Schachman H.K.
      From “publish or perish” to “patent and prosper.”.
      ) or listen to his talks on iBiology (

      .http://www.ibiology.org/ibiomagazine/issue-10/howard-schachman-misconduct-in-science.html,

      ,

      .http://www.ibiology.org/ibiomagazine/issue-8/howard-schachman-openness-in-academia.html,

      ). I trust that once you learn about or refamiliarize yourself with Howard Schachman's career and his many contributions to biological chemistry and science more broadly, you will join me in paying homage to him and lamenting his passing. We at JBC and ASBMB will miss him dearly and will seek to uphold his ideals.

      References

        • Schachman H.K.
        An alignment chart for the computation of ultracentrifugation results.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1942; 143: 395-402
        • Edelstein S.J.
        • Schachman H.K.
        The simultaneous determination of partial specific volumes and molecular weights with microgram quantities.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1967; 242: 306-311
        • Newell J.O.
        • Markby D.W.
        • Schachman H.K.
        Cooperative binding of the bisubstrate analog N-(phosphonacetyl)-l-aspartate to aspartate transcarbamoylase and the heterotropic effects of ATP and CTP.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1989; 264: 2476-2481
        • Kresge N.
        • Simoni R.D.
        • Hill R.L.
        Innovations in ultracentrifugation and an analysis of aspartate transcarbamoylase: the work of Howard K. Schachman.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2007; 282: e16
        • Schachman H.K.
        From “publish or perish” to “patent and prosper.”.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2006; 281: 6889-6903
      1. .http://www.ibiology.org/ibiomagazine/issue-10/howard-schachman-misconduct-in-science.html,

      2. .http://www.ibiology.org/ibiomagazine/issue-8/howard-schachman-openness-in-academia.html,