Professor Henry Arnstein
The former Chair of Biochemistry and Dean of King’s Faculty of Basic & Medical Sciences, Professor Henry Arnstein, died in November 2020, aged 96.
Henry was one of the world’s eminent biological scientists and a father of molecular biology. He explored the basic biology of the cell, which led to the revolution that is our modern-day molecular genomic science.
In the 1960s, his interest in amino acids and proteins coincided with the deciphering of the genetic code and the emergence of molecular biology. That, together with his collaboration with Bob Cox, who was studying ribonucleic acids, led to a new direction in his research that lasted a lifetime – protein biosynthesis.
After working and studying at universities and research institutes worldwide, Henry took up the Chair of Biochemistry position at King’s in 1965. In his early years at King’s, his research focused on the mechanism of initiation of protein synthesis and the production of active ribosomal subunits and messenger ribonucleoprotein complexes from mammalian sources. Later, in the 1970s and into the 1980s, he continued his investigation of the control of protein synthesis by various stress factors – for example, heat shock.
As well as running the department, he was a member of College Council and Dean, for some years, of the Faculty of Basic & Medical Sciences. He became a Fellow of King’s in 1979. He supervised and mentored many PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and published over 150 scientific papers. His lab was always a hive of activity and attracted scientists from across the world.