Richard Tecwyn Williams

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Richard Tecwyn Williams
Born February 20, 1909
Died December 29, 1979(1979-12-29) (aged 70)
Nationality British
Awards Fellow of the Royal Society [1]
Scientific career
Fields Xenobiotic metabolism

Richard Tecwyn Williams FRS [1] (20 February 1909 – 29 December 1979) was a Welsh biochemist who founded the systematic study of xenobiotic metabolism with the publication of his book Detoxication mechanisms in 1947. [1] [2] [3] [4] This seminal book built on his earlier work on the role of glucuronic acid in the metabolism of borneol. [5] [6]

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

Biochemist Scientist specialized in biochemistry

Biochemists are scientists that are trained in biochemistry.


He was born in Abertillery, Wales in 1909 and educated at the Gelli Crug Junior School and Secondary School, Abertillery. He then went on to University College, Cardiff to study chemistry and physiology and was awarded his B.Sc. degree in 1928. In 1931, he published the structure of glucuronic acid in the leading scientific journal, Nature. [7]

Abertillery Comprehensive School is a comprehensive school in Abertillery, Wales.

In 1949 he took up the chair of biochemistry at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London where, in the 1950s, he worked on the metabolism of thalidomide.

St Mary's is the youngest of the constituent schools of Imperial College London, founded in 1854 as part of the new hospital in Paddington. During its existence in the 1980s and 1990s, it was the most popular medical school in the country, with an application to place ratio of 27:1 in 1996.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in March 1967. [1] His application citation read: "The researches of Williams have been largely responsible for laying the foundations of biochemical toxicology. He has worked on the metabolism of aliphatic alcohols, alicyclic hydrocarbons, benzenes and alkylbenzenes, sulphonamides, drugs of a wide variety, heterocycles, and organotin compounds. He is especially known for his work on fluorescence and his studies on thalidomide in which he has shown that none of the twelve breakdown products which he identified is teratogenic. Williams has also defined the structural factors required for a compound to be excreted through the bile. He has discovered species differences which may have an application in primate classification. His work is of immediate relevance to an understanding of drug metabolism and action and that of the biological effects of food additives, pesticides, and other compounds foreign to the body". [8]

He died of cancer in 1979. He married Josephine Sullivan in 1937; they had five children.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Neuberger, A.; Smith, R. L. (1982). "Richard Tecwyn Williams. 20 February 1909-29 December 1979". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society . 28: 685. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1982.0026. JSTOR   769915.
  2. Jones, A. W. (2009). "Letter to the editor: Richard Tecwyn Williams (1909-1979): An Appreciation". Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 33 (9): 623–625. doi:10.1093/jat/33.9.623. PMID   20040139.
  3. Neuberger, A.; Smith, R. L. (1983). "Richard Tecwyn Williams: The Man, His Work, His Impact". Drug Metabolism Reviews. 14 (3): 559–607. doi:10.3109/03602538308991399. PMID   6347595.
  4. Parke, D. V. (1977). "Richard Tecwyn Williams". Xenobiotica. 7 (1–2): 1. doi:10.3109/00498257709036238. PMID   322396.
  5. Pryde J, Williams RT (1936). "The biochemistry and physiology of glucuronic acid: A note on the conjugation of borneol in man". Biochem. J. 30 (5): 799–800. PMC   1263101 . PMID   16746091.
  6. Pryde J, Williams RT (2 April 1933). "The biochemistry and physiology of glucuronic acid: The structure of glucuronic acid of animal origin". Biochem. J. 27 (4): 1197–204. PMC   1253009 . PMID   16745211.
  7. "THE FOUNDING FATHER OF DRUG METABOLISM Professor R. Tecwyn Williams" . Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  8. "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 November 2010.