Murray Goodman

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Murray Goodman, contributor to field of peptide chemistry; 75
By Jack Williams ((619) 542-4587;, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER, June 5, 2004 Murray Goodman, a veteran University of California San Diego professor who helped advance the field of peptide chemistry, died Tuesday in Munich, Germany. He was 75. The cause of death was pneumonia, which he developed on a lecture tour that took him to Israel, Italy and Germany. Peptide chemistry, the synthesis and analysis of compounds that mimic important biological molecules, caught Dr. Goodman's attention when it was an emerging science in the 1950s. He first explored peptides during postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later at Cambridge University in England. His subsequent work at UCSD, considered to be on the cutting edge of peptide synthesis, involved applying the latest molecular imaging techniques to determine peptide structure. With his collaborators and other researchers, he tested the biological effectiveness of man-made peptides and used the information to make enhancements. The work's practical applications included the development of anti-cancer drugs, pain medication, artificial sweeteners and artificial growth hormones. Dr. Goodman, who received his doctorate in 1953 from the University of California Berkeley, joined the UCSD faculty in 1970 as a professor of chemistry. He served as chairman of the chemistry department for six years and recently had an endowed professorship, the Goodman Chair in Chemistry, established in his honor. Dr. Goodman published nearly 500 scientific papers, most of them in top peer-reviewed journals in his field. His research influenced fundamental chemical science and the pharmaceutical industry, his colleagues said. "One of the things that was so refreshing about Murray was that he didn't just stick to the same familiar laboratory techniques," said Clifford Kubiak, chairman of UCSD's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "He was always learning and pioneering new methods. The younger people in peptide chemistry have been deeply influenced by Murray." Joseph Taulane, Dr. Goodman's assistant and laboratory director, said Dr. Goodman took pride in mentoring and launching the careers of young scientists. "He said many times that he stood on the shoulders of his students," Taulane said. One of Dr. Goodman's graduate students, Nicole Smith, said: "He really took the time to teach you, and he was willing to give you the freedom to try things your own way. But the most important thing I learned from him was how to be a professional." On May 11, Dr. Goodman received UCSD's Chancellor's Associates Recognition Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. It saluted him for training 84 graduate students and an additional 200 postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists. Dr. Goodman, born and raised in New York City, earned a bachelor of science degree from Brooklyn College in 1950. Later, while pursuing his doctorate at UC Berkeley, he worked on the use of isotopes as tracers to understand the mechanisms of photosynthesis. The work was in conjunction with Melvin Calvin, recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Dr. Goodman's survivors include his wife of 53 years, Zelda; sons, Joshua and Andrew, both of San Francisco, and David of New York; and six grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Congregation Beth El, 8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla. Donations are suggested to the Murray Goodman Memorial Fund, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD.