Newton Abraham Visiting Professorship
The Newton Abraham Visiting Professorship
The Newton Abraham Visiting Professorship enables highly distinguished researchers working in the medical, biological or chemical sciences or a related interdisciplinary area to spend up to 12 months in Oxford. The Professorship has a strong association with Lincoln College, where E.P. Abraham held a Professorial Fellowship until his retirement in 1980, and the Newton Abraham Visiting Professors holds a Professorial Fellowship of Lincoln during his or her tenure. In addition to following a programme of collaborative research, the Professor’s role involves stimulating interest in and research within his or her field, and engagement with the wider research community at Oxford and beyond, including delivery of the prestigious Newton Abraham Lecture.
A Brief History of the Professorship
The noted biochemist Sir Edward Penley Abraham worked in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford, where, with Ernest Chain and Howard Florey, he investigated the therapeutic potential of penicillin and played an important role in purifying it and decoding its chemical structure. E.P. Abraham subsequently worked, with Guy Newton in the discovery of the antibiotic cephalosporin. The patent income from the antibiotic enabled the establishment of several charitable trusts for the support of biomedical research, including the E.P. Abraham Research Fund. The Newton Abraham Visiting Professorship was established in 1980, with a donation from the E.P. Abraham Research Fund.
The first Newton Abraham Visiting Professor was Professor Arthur J. Birch, FRS, then Foundation Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra, where he had founded the Research School of Chemistry and acted as Dean for many years. He is best known for his development of the ‘Birch reduction’, which subsequently enabled the commercial synthesis of oral contraceptives.
The second Newton Abraham Visiting Professor, Konrad E. Bloch of Harvard University, is the first of three Nobel Laureates to hold the Professorship. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1964 jointly with Feodor Lynen for their research on the metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids.
James Watson held the Professorship for 1992-93. With Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, Watson was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology “for their discoveries for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material". At the time of his tenure of the Newton Abraham Visiting Professorship he was Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Professor Richard R. Schrock. Schrock (Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT) held the Professorship during 2012-13. . He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 with Yves Chauvin and Robert H. Grubbs for their development of the metathesis method, an organic synthesis reaction now widely used in the production of pharmaceuticals, synthetic fibres and fuels.
A full list of Newton Abraham Visiting Professors is available on request from the University of Oxford Senior Appointments Office, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.