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Memoir

George L. Kenyon
Regents' Proceedings 229

George L. Kenyon, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, retired from active faculty status on December 31, 2009.

Professor Kenyon received his B.S. degree from Bucknell University in 1961 and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He held an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1965-66, and was a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley (1966-72), and then at the University of California, San Francisco (1972-98), where he began his career as assistant professor and culminated it as dean of the School of Pharmacy. Professor Kenyon joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1998 as dean of the College of Pharmacy, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, and the Tom D. Rowe Collegiate Professor of Pharmacy.

An internationally renowned bioorganic chemist, Professor Kenyon is best known for his synthesis of a variety of reagents and substrate analogues used to study the mechanism of action of creatine kinase, mandelate racemase, and benzolylformate decarboxylase. His work has led to an understanding of how enzymes have evolved by sharing common chemical steps. He has also contributed to structural-based drug design of anti-HIV agents and antiparasitic agents, such as for the treatment of malaria. Professor Kenyon is well known for being the first to apply the use of simple alkanethiol groups for the temporary blocking of sulfhydryl groups of enzymes, including a widely used reagent that has become known as "Kenyon's Reagent." The enzymes Professor Kenyon studied are among the best mechanistically understood of all enzymes in their respective classes. His important discoveries have led to several patents and numerous publications, and his distinguished work is widely used by other biochemical scientists.

Professor Kenyon is not only highly regarded as a scientist, but is also an outstanding educator and active contributor to his profession. His numerous honors include election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1990), and as president of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2003).

The Regents now salute this distinguished scientist and educator for his dedicated service by naming George L. Kenyon professor emeritus of pharmaceutical chemistry and dean emeritus, College of Pharmacy.