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by Victoria Gilman
October 25, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 43

Joseph H. Burckhalter, a retired professor of medicinal chemistry who co-invented the first stable antibody-labeling agent, died on May 9 at the age of 91.

A native of Columbia, S.C., Burckhalter received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina in 1934. He went on to earn an M.S. in organic chemistry in 1938 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry in 1942 from the University of Michigan.

Following graduation, Burckhalter took a position as a senior research chemist at Parke-Davis in Detroit. In 1947, he joined the University of Kansas as the first chair of the department of medicinal chemistry, and in 1960, he left Kansas to teach at the University of Michigan, where he became the first chair of the university's interdepartmental graduate program in medicinal chemistry. In 1983, he became a research professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, a position he held until retirement.

While at Parke-Davis, Burckhalter was coinventor of the antimalarial agent amodiaquin. He later worked with Robert Seiwald to develop the antibody-labeling agent fluorescein isothiocyanate. This yellow-green fluorescent compound played an important role in identifying the cause of AIDS and is still widely used for its accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Burckhalter held numerous offices in local sections and technical divisions of ACS. In 1981, the Division of Medicinal Chemistry held a national meeting symposium in his honor.

Burckhalter is survived by his wife, Julia; two sons; a daughter; and two grandsons. Joined ACS in 1942; emeritus member.

Carlton F. Dresden, professor emeritus of chemistry at Slippery Rock University, in Pennsylvania, died on Jan. 2 at the age of 72.

Dresden earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Wisconsin's Platteville State Teacher's College and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He joined the faculty at Slippery Rock in 1959.

In addition to his work at Slippery Rock, Dresden enjoyed research sabbaticals at Louisiana State University School of Medicine; the University of Colorado, Boulder; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Dresden retired from Slippery Rock in 1994. He moved to Arizona in 2001 and tutored chemistry students at Mesa Community College.

His family and friends have endowed the Carlton F. Dresden Memorial Scholarship at Slippery Rock in tribute to Dresden's ideals, values, professional interests, and commitment to helping students. The scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior pursuing a bachelor of science degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry.

Dresden is survived by his wife, Marilyn; a daughter; and a son. Joined ACS in 1959.

Lawrence A. Funke, director of the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, died on Oct. 5 at the age of 55. The suspected cause of death is cardioaneurysm.

At the time of his death, Funke was a 16-year employee of ACS at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. He began his career there as an assistant program administrator for the Petroleum Research Fund and was named program director in 1998. Under his management, the ACS PRF grew steadily and provided research grants and seed money to thousands of young investigators.

In 2004, Funke led the 50th anniversary celebration for PRF and took on the additional role of directing the society's Office of Research Grants. He also worked closely with the society's Committee on Chemical Safety and took pride in helping to promote the profession of chemistry and to support research advances in the field.

A native of Covington, Ky., Funke received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Dayton in 1971 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Michigan State University in 1976. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University, Funke spent six years on the faculty at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Before joining the ACS staff, he was on the faculty of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, in Baltimore, from 1983 to 1988, where he was a professor of chemistry and chairman of the chemistry department.

A devoted family man, he served many years as a scout leader for his son's Boy Scout troop and did volunteer work at St. Louis Catholic Church in Clarksville, Md., where he was a member. Survivors include his wife, Mary, and a son. Joined ACS in 1973.


Maurice H. F. Wilkins, one of three winners of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of DNA's double-helix structure, died on Oct. 5 at the age of 87.

Wilkins shared the prize with Francis H. C. Crick and James D. Watson for the seven years he spent experimentally verifying their theoretical model of DNA's double-helix structure.

His initial work on X-ray diffraction methodologies had allowed for improved pictures of DNA molecules, which inspired Watson and Crick to develop their hypothetical model.

Wilkins died in a London hospital, according to a statement from King's College London, where Wilkins had performed his Nobel-winning research and was still a member of the staff.

"Professor Wilkins was a towering figure, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century and a man of immense humanity. He will be much missed," said Rick Trainor, principal of King's College, in the same statement.

"Maurice Wilkins played an absolutely critical role in one of the most important discoveries in human history--the elucidation of the structure of DNA, the primary blueprint for life," added Adrian C. Hayday, a professor of immunobiology at King's College.

Wilkins, who was born in New Zealand in 1916, received an undergraduate degree in physics from St. John's College, Cambridge, and a Ph.D. from Birmingham University in 1940 for his thesis on phosphorescence. He then worked on the separation of uranium isotopes for use in bombs and spent time in Berkeley, Calif., as part of the Manhattan Project.

After World War II ended, Wilkins moved to St. Andrews University, in Scotland, and began studying biophysics. When the biophysics project moved to King's College in 1946, he focused on ultrasonics and microscopic techniques before turning to X-ray diffraction studies of DNA and sperm heads.

Wilkins became assistant director of the Medical Research Council Unit in 1950 and deputy director in 1955. He received the Albert Lasker Award (with Watson and Crick) in 1960 and was made Companion of the British Empire in 1962.


Obituaries are written by Victoria Gilman .<br > The obituary for Maurice H. F. Wilkins was written by Aalok Mehta. Obituary notices may be sent by e-mail to and should include detailed educational and professional history.


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