Dr. Joe Jeffers, Ouachita Baptist University’s Charles S. and Elma Grey Goodwin Professor of Chemistry and Pre-medical Studies, recently published the book Frederick Sanger: Two-Time Nobel Laureate in Chemistry with Springer Publishing Company as part of the “Springer Briefs in Molecular Science: History of Chemistry” series.
“To get to know a person in a way and at a level that most of his colleagues didn’t know him was intriguing to say the least,” Jeffers said. “I was trained as a biochemist and Fred Sanger was a giant in biochemistry at the time. When I became the dean of natural sciences, I gave up lab research and developed an interest in the history of chemistry.”
Jeffers graduated from Ouachita in 1966 with a degree in chemistry. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology in 1972 from Purdue University before returning to Ouachita to teach. Over his 46 years serving at the university, Jeffers has been the chair of the chemistry department, chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences. For the past five years, he has returned to the classroom to teach full-time before he retires at the end of this semester as professor emeritus of chemistry.
“During a sabbatical, I contacted Dr. Sanger about writing a biography on him. Over the next eight years, I interviewed him 12 times,” Jeffers said. “The biography covers the early life of Sanger, his protein period, his RNA period, his DNA period and his life outside the lab.” Jeffers also spoke to more than 40 of Sanger’s colleagues and family members.
Sanger was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1958 after being the first person to determine the amino acid sequence of a protein and later in 1980 for his research on DNA with Paul Berg and Walter Gilbert. He is one of only four people to win two Nobel prizes.
For more information about the book or to purchase it, visit http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319547077. For more information about Dr. Jeffers or Ouachita’s Department of Chemistry, contact the Patterson School of Natural Sciences at (870) 245-5528.
By Sarah Davis
May 5, 2017