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Obituary: Allan H. Conney (1930 – 2013), former ASPET President, pioneer of cytochrome 450 induction

August 07, 2013
written by F. Peter Guengerich and Anthony Y. H. Lu

Allan H. ConneyWe note with regret the passing of Allan H. Conney, the William M. and Myrle W. Garbe Professor of Cancer and Leukemia Research at Rutgers University. Dr. Conney was born in 1930 in Chicago, IL and obtained a B.S. degree in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin in 1952. He also received his Ph.D. from Wisconsin, working with Professors James and Elizabeth Miller. During his thesis, he did some of the first experiments demonstrating the induction of what we now know as cytochromes P450. During postdoctoral work at the NIH, he continued to gain insight into drug metabolism. From 1960 – 1987, he was affiliated with Burroughs-Wellcome and Hoffman-LaRoche and made major contributions in basic research in drug metabolism, providing some of the early evidence for multiple forms of cytochrome P450 and their catalytic selectivity. He also demonstrated cytochrome P450 induction in humans and stimulations of cytochrome P450 activity by chemicals. His collaborative studies with Dr. Donald M. Jerina of the NIH on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons established much of what is now termed the bay region/diol epoxide pathway. He also began a research program on cancer prevention, which he continued after moving to Rutgers University in 1987 as the founding Chairman of the Department of Chemical Biology, a post he held for another 15 years.

In 1982, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. He served as President of ASPET in 1983 – 1984. Allan Conney published 538 primary articles, reviews, and book chapters. For a further account of his work, see Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 43:1-30, 2003.

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