John Tileston Edsall

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John Tileston Edsall
Born(1902-11-03)November 3, 1902
DiedJune 12, 2002(2002-06-12) (aged 99)
AwardsWillard Gibbs Award (1972)
Scientific career
Fieldsprotein biochemistry
InstitutionsHarvard University

John Tileston Edsall (3 November 1902 – 12 June 2002) was an early protein scientist, who contributed significantly to the understanding of the hydrophobic interaction.

Early life[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, John Edsall moved to Boston with his family at the age of 10. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in chemistry. At Harvard he was a good friend of the physicist Robert Oppenheimer.[1]

Protein research[edit]

In 1943, Edsall and Cohn published a physical chemistry book Proteins, Amino Acids and Peptides, that had a profound influence on the next generation of protein scientists.

Blood fractionation[edit]

Edsall worked with Edwin Cohn during World War II to apply protein methods to blood fractionation.

Advances in Protein Chemistry[edit]

John Edsall was a founding co-editor of the journal Advances in Protein Chemistry. He was invited by the publisher Kurt Jacoby and the founding editor Tim Anson, whom he had met in 1924 in Cambridge (although they were both undergraduates at Harvard University at nearly the same time).

Teaching and students[edit]

He was Professor at the Harvard University.

Historical interests[edit]

Edsall was active in preserving the history of protein science.

Personal history[edit]

John T. Edsall married Margaret Dunham of Scarsdale, NY, May 1, 1929 in Scarsdale. They had three sons: James Lawrence Dunham Edsall (known always as Lawrence), June 6, 1930 - July 8, 1978; David T. Edsall, born 1933, and Nicholas C. Edsall, born 1936. Margaret D. Edsall was born in New York, NY, June 9, 1902 and died May 19, 1987. They lived most of their married life in Cambridge, MA.


  1. ^ Bird, Kai; Sherwin, Martin J. (2005). American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. A.A. Knopf. ISBN 9780375412028.
  • Bloch KE. (1968) "A tribute to John T. Edsall. Editor 1958-1967.", J. Biol. Chem., 243, 1333-1336.

External links[edit]