Richard Neil Armstrong (1948 – 2015)

Richard Neil Armstrong Vanderbilt Unversity

Richard Neil Armstrong, professor of biochemistry and chemistry at Vanderbilt University, died in June. He was 66.

Armstrong was born in Boonville, Mo., on Dec. 14, 1948. After undergraduate studies in chemistry at Western Illinois University, he obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Marquette University. He was a postdoc at the University of Chicago and a staff fellow at the then National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Disease (since renamed), before joining the chemistry department at the University of Maryland. In 1995, Armstrong became a professor of biochemistry and chemistry at Vanderbilt University.

Beginning in 2004, Armstrong served as editor-in-chief of the journal Biochemistry, and he was highly respected for his research into detoxification enzymes, which aid in an organism’s ability to resist harmful chemicals. He was elected a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. The ACS presented Armstrong with the Repligen Award for Chemistry of Biological Processes and named him an Arthur C. Cope scholar in 2014. Additionally, Vanderbilt honored him with the Stanley Cohen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in 2005.

A ham radio aficionado and lone proprietor of “Uncle Ricky’s Fishing School,” Armstrong is survived by his wife of 31 years, Mary Frances Clark, and two children.

Erik Chaulk Erik Chaulk is a peer-review coordinator at the ASBMB.