Issue Date: November 16, 2009
Xiaotian Liang, 86, an emeritus professor of medicinal chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Institute of Materia Medica, died in Beijing on Sept. 29.
Born in Wuyang, Henan, China, Liang received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1951. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University before returning to China in 1955. Liang then began his work as a natural products chemist at the Institute of Materia Medica, where he remained until his retirement in the 1990s.
In the early 1970s, Liang isolated and elucidated the structure of yingzhaosu A, the active ingredient in the herb Artabotrys uncinatus, which has antimalarial properties. He later helped elucidate the structure of artemisinin, which, along with its synthetic analogs, is now being used in malaria therapy.
Liang was an editor for Tetrahedron, Tetrahedron Letters, Planta Medica, Chinese Chemical Letters, and the Journal of Asian Natural Product Research.
Liang is survived by his wife of six decades, Xiuzhang Yang.
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