In Memoriam

Remembering Charles Radding

ASBMB Today Staff
By ASBMB Today Staff
Jan. 4, 2021

Charles M. Radding, a professor emeritus of genetics at Yale University, died Oct. 20 at age 90. He was a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for 40 years.

Born June 8, 1930, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Radding earned an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1956. He served a medical internship in Boston and a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before conducting postdoctoral research at Stanford University with Arthur Kornberg, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1959, the year Radding joined his lab. Radding joined the faculty at the University of Michigan before moving to Yale in 1967.

Charles Radding

In his lab, Radding characterized cellular proteins that mediate DNA recombination, focusing on the recA protein from E. coli. By purifying and studying proteins, he was able to reconstitute key steps of recombination in the lab. He and his colleague Matthew Meselson of Harvard formulated the articulation of a new general model of recombination, known as the Meselson–Radding Model.

Radding was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and served for many years as an editor of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to a Yale School of Medicine profile, Radding is remembered as an outstanding teacher, engaging lecturer, and dedicated and inspiring mentor: “He often accessorized his lectures with props: long rubber tubes representing DNA strands to illustrate difficult-to-visualize concepts like positive and negative DNA supercoiling and DNA strand exchange. Occasionally, the tubing got into a hopeless tangle, to the great amusement of the class!”

His interests outside the lab included classical music, literature, fine food, and languages, with a special fondness for French, the profile states, and “he was always happy with little urging to speak French, or, for that matter, any of a series of ersatz languages and accents that sounded surprisingly authentic.”

Radding is survived by his wife of more than 65 years, Natalie, as well as three daughters and a grandson.

ASBMB Today Staff
ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

Journal of Biological Chemistry names new editor-in-chief
Journal News

Journal of Biological Chemistry names new editor-in-chief

July 30, 2021

Alex Toker, professor of pathology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, will begin his term Oct. 1.

Conaway named vice provost; Emr wins Shaw Prize; remembering Hartley
Member News

Conaway named vice provost; Emr wins Shaw Prize; remembering Hartley

July 26, 2021

Awards, promotions, milestones and more. Find out what's going on in the lives of ASBMB members.

Remembering Turk and Yamamoto
In Memoriam

Remembering Turk and Yamamoto

July 19, 2021

We look back on the lives of a mass spectrometry pioneer and member of the JBC editorial board and a researcher focused on enzymology and the biochemistry of lipids involved in inflammation.

2021 voter guide
Member News

2021 voter guide

July 14, 2021

Learn about the positions and candidates running for ASBMB president-elect, treasurer, Council and Nominating Committee.

Dixon retires from UCSD; Johnson–Winters honored for essay; Mississippi State recognizes Sparks
Member News

Dixon retires from UCSD; Johnson–Winters honored for essay; Mississippi State recognizes Sparks

July 12, 2021

Awards, promotions, milestones and more. Find out what's going on in the lives of ASBMB members.

Ambitious gene editing needs an ambitious pair of scissors
Profile

Ambitious gene editing needs an ambitious pair of scissors

July 10, 2021

Amit Choudhary speaks about being agnostic to scientific disciplines, and the power of CRISPR/Cas9.