H. E. Carter

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Herbert E. Carter
BornSeptember 25, 1910
DiedMarch 4, 2007 (2007-03-05) (aged 96)
Alma materUniversity of Illinois
Known forThreonine biochemistry
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Illinois
University of Arizona
Doctoral advisorCarl Shipp Marvel
Doctoral studentsPhilip Handler

Herbert Edmund Carter (September 25, 1910 – March 4, 2007) was an American biochemist and educator. He grew up in central Indiana and received his bachelor's degree from DePauw University. He received a Ph.D. in 1934 in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois.


He remained at Illinois as a member of the faculty and served as head of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (1954–1967) and later as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1968–1971). It was at the University of Illinois that Carter in collaboration with William C. Rose, determined the structure of threonine.

Following his retirement from Illinois in 1971, he moved to the University of Arizona and established the very successful Office of Interdisciplinary Programs.[1] He recognized that the processes and systems underlying individual disciplines are remarkably similar and interdependent, and concluded that what lies in between disciplines—the area of interdisciplinarity—is where future developments, discoveries, and training programs would flourish. The Herbert E. Carter Travel Award is named in his honor.[2] He created and headed the University Department of Biochemistry (1977–1980). He remained active at the University of Arizona until the age of 94.[1]

Carter was also active in the scientific community. He played important roles as President of the American Society of Biological Chemists (1956–1957) and as member (1954) and chair of many important committees of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the Gordon Research Conferences, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. He served as a member, and then as chairman, of the National Science Board. In recognition of his contributions at the National Science Board, a mountain ridge in Antarctica, Carter Ridge, was named after him. He was the founder of the series Biochemical Preparations, and served as a member of the editorial boards of many scientific journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Lipid Research.[1]

Department Heads of Chemistry at the University of Illinois[edit]

Head Years of Service Years
A. P. S. Stewart 1868–1874 6
Henry A. Weber 1874–1882 8
William McMurtrie 1882–1888 6
J. C. Jackson 1888 1
Arthur W. Palmer 1889–1904 15
Harry S. Grindley 1904–1907 3
William A. Noyes 1907–1926 19
Roger Adams 1926–1954 28
Herbert E. Carter 1954–1967 13
Herbert S. Gutowsky 1967–1983 16
Larry R. Faulkner 1984–1989 5
Gary B. Schuster 1989–1994 5
Paul W. Bohn 1995–1999 5
Steven C. Zimmerman 1999–2000 1
Gregory S. Girolami 2000–2005 5
Steven C. Zimmerman 2005–2013 8
Gregory S. Girolami 2013–2016 4
Martin Gruebele 2016-present

Awards and honors[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Carter, H. E., and C. B. Hirschberg. 1968. Phytosphingosines and branched sphingosines in kidney. Biochemistry. 7: 2296–2300.
  • Carter, H. E., R. C. Gaver, and R. K. Yu. 1966. A novel branched-chain sphingolipid base from Crithidia facsiculata. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 22: 316–320.
  • Carter, H. E., and Y. Fujino. 1956. Biochemistry of the sphingolipides. IX. Configuration of cerebrosides. J. Biol. Chem. 221: 879–884.
  • Carter, H. E., C. P. Schaffner, and D. Gottlieb. 1954. Levomycin. I. Isolation and chemical studies. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 53: 282–293.
  • Carter, H. E., and F. L. Greenwood. 1952. Biochemistry of the sphingolipides. VII. Structure of the cerebrosides. J. Biol. Chem. 199: 283–288.
  • Carter, H. E., D. Gottlieb, and H. W. Anderson. 1948. Chloromycetin and streptothricin. Science. 107: 113.


  1. ^ a b c d John H. Law, Regents' Professor Emeritus* and Robert K. Yu, Associate Editor. "Introduction to thematic series on sphingolipids in honor of Professor Herbert E. Carter (1910–2007)". Journal of Lipid Research. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  2. ^ "The Carter Travel Award". gidp.arizona.edu. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  3. ^ Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, April 1970 (Vol. 47) page 150A
  4. ^ "Herbert E. Carter, 1961. Molecular & Cellular Biology". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Dr. H.E. Carter Receives Honorary Degree". University of Illinois Archives. June 9, 1952. Retrieved 29 November 2010.

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