In Memoriam

In memoriam: Richard Duncan Dallam

ASBMB Today Staff
Nov. 15, 2021

Richard Duncan Dallam, a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1958, died July 2. He was 95.

Richard Duncan Dallam

Born Dec. 12, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, Dallam enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadet Corps at the age of 17. According to an obituary, as a B-29 tail gunner, he flew his final mission on Aug. 14, 1945, the day the U.S. dropped atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima; the B-29s continued the attack for 24 hours until Japan surrendered — the largest and last bombing mission of World War II.

Dallam did undergraduate studies at William Jewel College and Rockhurst College before earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Missouri. He did postgraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rockefeller Institute, then joined the faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he taught and did research for 40 years, retiring as professor emeritus in 1993.

After early research in the chemical composition of cell nuclei, Dallam’s main interest into the 1960s was the complex biochemistry of oxidative phosphorylation, the process by which energy derived from sugar or other nutrients is used to make ATP. He studied the role of quinones, or K vitamins, which we now know act as lipid-soluble electron shuttles between steps in the electron transport chain. He was also interested in the role selenium plays when incorporated into cytochrome proteins — finding that it was incorporated in selenocysteine and seleniomethionine. In later years, he published on the impact of acid rain on sulfate metabolism in crop plants.

In 1961, the American Heart Association designated Dallam an established investigator for his work on intermediary metabolism. He was a founding member of the Biophysical Society.

Dallam and his wife, Ginny, owned farms in Lagrange and Simpsonville, Kentucky, where for 25 years they raised cattle and quarter horses. For several years, they showed their ponies hitched to an Amish farm wagon in the Kentucky Derby's Pegasus Parade.

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
ASBMB Today Staff

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

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

ASCB honors Asai, Goley and Bagde
Member News

ASCB honors Asai, Goley and Bagde

Dec. 5, 2022

These three ASBMB members have won recognition from the American Society for Cell Biology.

ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking
Feature

ASBMB delegates leave their mark on policymaking

Dec. 1, 2022

Advocacy Training Program participants use their new skills to improve their institutional environments, create new programs, draft policy recommendations, perform targeted outreach and more.

2022 Sewer scholarship winners announced
Society News

2022 Sewer scholarship winners announced

Nov. 28, 2022

The $2,000 award goes to undergraduates who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and enhance the diversity of science.

Brought to you (mostly) by and for women
Annual Meeting

Brought to you (mostly) by and for women

Nov. 23, 2022

The ASBMB’s Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee has big plans for Discover BMB 2023.

Dedicated to sharing science
Student Chapters

Dedicated to sharing science

Nov. 21, 2022

Introduced to scientific research through her Tufts University ASBMB Student Chapter, Lema Abuoqab works to make sure other students can have the same experience.

Tolbert named HHMI VP; new phase for Hannun
Member News

Tolbert named HHMI VP; new phase for Hannun

Nov. 21, 2022

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