In Memoriam

In memoriam: Henry Michael Miziorko

Nipuna Weerasinghe
June 3, 2024

Henry Michael Miziorko, professor emeritus at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and an ASBMB member since 1989, died at home on March 17. He was 76.

Henry Misiorko

Misiorko was born on Oct. 11, 1947, in Philadelphia, to Henry G. and Veronica Miziorko. His education began at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia, followed by earning a B.S. in chemistry from St. Joseph's University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974.

At Johns Hopkins University, Misiorko was a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow from 1974 to 1976 and served as an instructor with a Mellon Foundation fellowship from 1976 to 1977. In 1977, he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin in the biochemistry department. At MCW, he established himself as a researcher in the field of enzyme biochemistry. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in 1983 to conduct research on phosphoribulokinase reaction stereochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany.

In 2004, Misiorko joined the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri–Kansas City as an endowed professor of structural biology and head of the Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a position he held until his retirement in 2013. His work at UMKC focused on the biochemical and structural basis of enzyme function, particularly in the mevalonate pathway, which is crucial for cholesterol synthesis and other biological processes. His studies on enzymes such as mevalonate kinase and 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl–CoA lyase have been widely cited.

Misiorko met his wife, Rita, at a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, and they were married for 53 years. He was known among colleagues for “his quick wit, his careful and detailed approach to science, and his pursuit of excellence,” according to a family obituary. His other interests included fishing and travel.

He is survived by his wife; his son, Michael, and wife Sarah; grandsons, Nathan and Nicholas; and sister, Marian Ciliberti, and husband Jim,. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Alyx, and his brother, Bob.

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Nipuna Weerasinghe

Nipuna Weerasinghe holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona.

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