September 2011

Saul Roseman (1921 – 2011)

Roseman’s seminal discoveries often were characterized as serendipitous, because both the correct structure of sialic acid and the PTS system were unexpected findings. Of this, Roseman once said, “The unexpected is just nature’s way of telling researchers where to look for the really interesting and important stuff.” Interesting, indeed!

Roseman was recognized widely as a pioneer in biochemistry and glycobiology, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and received the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Rosenstiehl Award and an honorary M.D. from the University of Lund in Sweden. The Journal of Biological Chemistry honored him with a centennial biography, “Hexosamine metabolism, sialic acids, and the phosphotransferase system: Saul Roseman’s contributions to glycobiology.” His insights, passion and enthusiasm for research live on in the many scientists who trained with him or benefited from his work.

Ronald L. Schnaar ( is a professor in the department of pharmacology at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and George W. Jourdian ( is a professor emeritus of biological chemistry and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.



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