January 20, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 8

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    American Philosophical Society elects Steiner

    By John Easton
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    Donald Steiner, the A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Medicine, was elected to the American Philosophical Society and was welcomed to the APS at its annual meeting in Philadelphia in November 2004.

    Steiner, a pioneer in understanding how insulin is made, is one of six biological scientists elected to the society this year and the 41st Chicago faculty member ever to be elected a member.

    Steiner has received many previous honors, including the Lilly, Koch and Gairdner awards, the Wolf Prize in medicine, and several honorary degrees. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Steiner received his M.D. in 1956 from Chicago’s School of Medicine and joined the faculty in Biochemistry in 1960. In 1965, Steiner began his investigation of insulin biosynthesis in a human islet cell adenoma. That led to the discovery of pro-insulin and opened a new area of protein chemistry concerned with the processing of precursor proteins.

    His work also led to the development of new techniques for measuring insulin secretion in humans and laid the scientific groundwork for the production of human insulin by recombinant DNA technology, the standard method by which insulin is produced today. More recent studies in his laboratory have focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the processing of both pre- and pro-proteins, and on the structure, evolution and mechanisms of regulation of the genes for insulin and related growth factors.

    Founded in 1743, the American Philosophical Society is the United States’ oldest learned society.