Mary Jane Osborn

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Mary Jane Osborn
Born (1927-09-24) September 24, 1927 (age 91)
Alma materUniversity of California
University of Washington
Scientific career
FieldsBiochemistry, molecular biology
InstitutionsNew York University College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
University of Connecticut School of Medicine
University of Connecticut Health Center

Mary Jane Osborn (born September 24, 1927) is an American biochemist and molecular biologist. She heads the Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Connecticut Health Center. As a researcher, her focus has been the mechanisms of bacterial cell division. Her research examining the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharides resulted in the development of antibiotics effective against certain pathogenic bacteria.

Life and career[edit]

Mary Jane Merten was born on September 24, 1927 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[1] Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was young. She received her B.S. in physiology from the University of California in 1948. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Washington in 1958. Her thesis examined the function of folic acid-dependent enzymes and vitamins. In her graduate studies, she reported on the mode of action of methotrexate in 1957.[2]

Following her completion of a postdoctoral microbiology fellowship in 1961 at the New York University College of Medicine, she was appointed assistant professor there in 1962. She was professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1963 to 1968. She joined University of Connecticut School of Medicine as professor in 1968. She headed the University of Connecticut's Department of Microbiology from 1980 to 2002.[3]

Her postdoctoral research examined the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharides.[4]

Osborn was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1978. She has served as editor of both the journal Biochemistry and the Journal of Biochemistry.[1]

Osborn worked for NASA and the National Research Council from the mid-1990s through 2008 on lunar and space exploration projects.[3]

She married painter Ralph Osborn.


  1. ^ a b Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2007). "Osborn, Mary Jane". Encyclopedia of World Scientists (Revised ed.).
  2. ^ "ASBMB Past Presidents: 1981 – Mary Jane Osborn". American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Honoring Our First Women Faculty". University of Connecticut Health Center. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  4. ^ Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). "Osborn, Mary Jane (Merten)". American Women of Science Since 1900. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 729. ISBN 978-1-59884-158-9.

External links[edit]