Sir Alan Battersby FRS
Alan Battersby was an organic chemist and was distinguished for his research on vitamin B12, chlorophyll and haem — dubbed the ‘pigments of life’ — as well as plant alkaloids, which are used to make certain anaesthetics and pain medication, including morphine. Particularly notable was Alan’s work on the structure and artificial production of cyanocobalamin, a chemical compound used to treat people with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Alan successfully identified many biogenetic precursors — chemicals that precede others in metabolic reactions. He deduced biochemical reaction pathways by following the decay of radioactive tracers — a technique in which a particular element in a compound or biomolecule is replaced with its corresponding radioactive partner, or isotope.
Alan’s many accolades included the Copley Medal of the Royal Society and he was jointly awarded the 1989 Wolf Prize in Chemistry and also received the 1995 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity. In 2000, he was a joint recipient of the Welch Award for his lifetime achievements in biosynthesis and biochemistry. Alan was knighted in 1992.
Sir Alan Battersby died on 10 February 2018.
Interest and expertise
- Chemistry, organic, Chemistry, biological