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.

Contents

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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A xenobiotic is a chemical substance found within an organism that is not naturally produced or expected to be present within the organism. It can also cover substances that are present in much higher concentrations than are usual.

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Glucuronic acid chemical compound

Glucuronic acid is a uronic acid that was first isolated from urine. It is found in many gums such as gum arabic and xanthan, and is important for the metabolism of microorganisms, plants and animals.

Phenylacetone chemical compound

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Glucuronosyltransferase enzyme

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Cytochrome P450, family 1, member A1 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

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Flavin-containing monooxygenase

The flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) protein family specializes in the oxidation of xeno-substrates in order to facilitate the excretion of these compounds from living organisms. These enzymes can oxidize a wide array of heteroatoms, particularly soft nucleophiles, such as amines, sulfides, and phosphites. This reaction requires an oxygen, an NADPH cofactor, and an FAD prosthetic group. FMOs share several structural features, such as a NADPH binding domain, FAD binding domain, and a conserved arginine residue present in the active site. Recently, FMO enzymes have received a great deal of attention from the pharmaceutical industry both as a drug target for various diseases and as a means to metabolize pro-drug compounds into active pharmaceuticals. These monooxygenases are often misclassified because they share activity profiles similar to those of cytochrome P450 (CYP450), which is the major contributor to oxidative xenobiotic metabolism. However, a key difference between the two enzymes lies in how they proceed to oxidize their respective substrates; CYP enzymes make use of an oxygenated heme prosthetic group, while the FMO family utilizes FAD to oxidize its substrates.

References

  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.

Bibliography