Longtime Yale University faculty member Donald M. Crothers of Northford has been named Sterling Professor of Chemistry by vote of the Yale Corporation. In his research, Professor Crothers studies the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of DNA and RNA using a variety of physical, chemical and molecular biological techniques.
He and his laboratory colleagues are exploring how genetic material binds with proteins and how the resulting bending and other structural distortions lead to the activation of gene expression.
Born in Fategharh, India, Professor Crothers received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude with distinction in chemistry from Yale in 1958. He also holds a second bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Cambridge University, where he studied under a Mellon Fellowship, as well as a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California at San Diego. He did postdoctoral work at the National Science Foundation and the Max-Planck-Institut in Gottingen, Germany, before joining the Yale faculty in 1964 as an assistant professor in the departments of chemistry and molecular biophysics and biochemistry.
Professor Crothers was named to an associate professorship in 1968, to a full professorship in 1971 and to the Alfred E. Kemp Professorship in Chemistry in 1985. He currently chairs the chemistry department, having previously served in that post 1975-81. He has served on many Yale advisory committees, including the Advisory Committee for the Education of Women.
The Yale chemist has garnered many honors during his career, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1987 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986; an Alexander von Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award in 1981; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1978-79; and the Yale Science and Engineering Award in 1977.