It should be no surprise that Kennedy was selected to become a Hamilton Kuhn professor and head of the department of biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School in 1959. He continued his research on phospholipid biosynthesis and outlined a detailed picture of phosphoglyceride and triacylglycerol biosynthesis. But his contributions are not limited to these discoveries. Kennedy went on to make significant discoveries regarding the biogenesis and function of membranes, translocation of phospholipids, periplasmic glucans and cell signaling in bacteria.
Kennedy served on the editorial board and as an associate editor for the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He was also the president of the American Society of Biological Chemists in 1970. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including election to the National Academy of Sciences (1964), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1976), the University of Chicago Distinguished Service Award (1966), the Boehringer Ingelheim Heinrich Wieland Prize (1986) and the Pasano Award (senior laureate, 1986).
We tell our graduate and post-doctorial students that the job of a scientist is to discover new knowledge and make significant contributions to his or her field of study. Kennedy has set a very high bar indeed – one that we all should strive to achieve. His accomplishments go well beyond what can included in a brief outline of his work. Kennedy will be missed, but his work always will remain influential.
1. Kresge, N., Simoni, R.D., and Hill, R.L. (2005) J. Biol. Chem., 280, e22.
Daniel Raben (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of the ASBMB Lipid Division and a professor in the department of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.