Prof. Sir Chris Dobson

In Memoriam

Remembering Sir Chris Dobson (1949-2019)

FRS FMedSci, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge and Master of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Professor Sir Chris Dobson was the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge and Master of St John’s College, Cambridge. He co-founded the Cambridge Centre for Misfolding Diseases and served as Vice-Chairman of the board of Wren.

Professor Sir Chris Dobson was a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. He was the recipient of many honours including the Royal Medal by the Royal Society (2009), the Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics (2014) and the Feltrinelli International Prize for Medicine (2014). In 2018, he was awarded a Knighthood by the Queen. He was one of the world’s leading scientists working at the interface of the physical and biological sciences. His work had led to the discovery of fundamental principles that determine the aberrant self-association of protein molecules, and the manner in which such behaviour can give rise to a multitude of human diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. He made very significant contributions to our fundamental understanding of how and why proteins are in most cases able to fold correctly to generate normal biological function, yet in certain circumstances misfold and drive a wide range of diseases. He developed entirely novel biophysical and biochemical approaches for this purpose, and he deployed these techniques to unravel the molecular basis of these highly complex processes.

He was an undergraduate, graduate student and research fellow at the University of Oxford. He then became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University and a Visiting Scientist at MIT before returning to Oxford where he was a Professor of Chemistry until moving to Cambridge to take up the position of the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology.  He became Master of St John’s College in 2007 and served in this position until his passing in September 2019. During his working career he was awarded five honorary degrees in science and medicine. 

His work is described in more than 800 peer-reviewed papers and review articles in leading journals, including more than 30 in Nature and Science. 

Publications by Prof. Sir Chris Dobson

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