Fenn, John Bennett

Fenn, John Bennett,

1917–2010, American chemist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Yale, 1940. Fenn spent the early years of his career working in industry (1940–52) and then for the U.S. Navy (1952–67) before becoming a professor at Yale (1967–94). He joined the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth Univ. in 1994, where he remained until his death. Fenn shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Koichi TanakaTanaka, Koichi,
1959–, Japanese engineer, B.S. Tohoku Univ., 1983. He has been a researcher at Shimadzu Corporation in Kyoto, Japan, since 1983. Tanaka shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with John Fenn and Kurt Wüthrich for the development of methods for
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 and Kurt WüthrichWüthrich, Kurt,
1938–, Swiss chemist, Ph.D. Univ. of Basel, 1964. Wüthrich has been on the faculty at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology since 1969 and at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., since 2001.
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 for their work on biological macromolecules. Fenn is credited with developing a mass spectrometry technique known as electrospray ionization, which enables biological macromolecules to be identified and analyzed. Previous techniques were capable of identifying only small molecules. As a result of Fenn's work, complex new pharmaceutical compounds can be evaluated much more quickly, and his discovery led directly to the development of a new class of AIDS medications known as protease inhibitorsprotease inhibitor
, any of a class of drugs that interfere with replication of the AIDS virus (HIV), by blocking an enzyme (protease) necessary in the late stages of its reproduction.
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