February 2010

Edwin G. Krebs (1918–2009)

Ed Krebs was one of those people whose accomplishments were so numerous and so extraordinary that, paradoxically, they were easy to overlook because they formed such a huge part of our scientific world. But, every time we teach or do research on the regulation of pretty much anything that goes on inside the living cell, the chances are good that we are either talking about or building on his work.

Gregory A. Petsko
Gyula and Katica Tauber professor of biochemistry and chemistry
Brandeis University


I was privileged to work for and with Ed for nearly 40 years.  During this time, I do not believe I ever heard him raise his voice to me in disapproval though there were plenty of times when I deserved it.  Ed gave his students and faculty a huge amount of freedom and yet somehow always seemed to have his hand on the "pulse of the lab."  He preferred to lead by example rather than by giving orders.  Eventually we all learned that his gentle suggestions were something to which we needed to pay attention.  Ultimately, we were all better off for the experience.  He will be sorely missed.

Joe Beavo
Professor of pharmacology
University of Washington



1. Fischer, E. H., and Krebs, E. G. (1955) Conversion of Phosphorylase B to Phosphorylase A in Muscle Extracts. J. Biol. Chem. 216, 121 - 132.

John D. Scott (scottjdw@u.washington.edu) is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Edwin G. Krebs-Speights professor of cell signaling and cancer biology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

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I performed 2 years of post doctoral research on rabbit heart phosphorylase under Doctor Krebs. I still feel that I am a student learning of new advances in biochemistry from him. I was deeply moved and saddened to read of his passing. Louis Schliselfeld


I was deeply moved by the passing of Ed Krebs. John Scott captured what we all who knew him feel at his passing. Like many, we learned of his great joy of science and boundless ability to encourage the best science through his role as an editor. Later, at meetings of the editorial board of The JBC, I was able truly to appreciate his insights and to value his advice to me concerning my career path. Few will be as sorely missed as Ed Krebs. He left a legacy that we both admire and should try to emulate in some modest way. Craig C. Malbon Leading Professor and Director, DMDRC Department of Pharmacology SUNY-Stony Brook



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