William Cumming Rose

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
William Cumming Rose
Born April 4, 1887
Greenville, South Carolina
Died September 25, 1985 (1985-09-26) (aged 98)
Urbana, Illinois
Nationality United States
Fields Biochemistry
Alma mater Yale University
Known for essential amino acids
Notable awards Willard Gibbs Award (1952)
National Medal of Science (1966)

William Cumming Rose (April 4, 1887 – September 25, 1985) was an American biochemist and nutritionist. He discovered the amino acid threonine and his research determined the requirement for essential amino acids in diet.[1][2]

Early life

William Cumming Rose was born in Greenfield, South Carolina.[1] His father was a Presbyterian minister who began to homeschool William in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew when he was 14 years old. He also studied an introductory chemistry textbook by Ira Remsen. When he was 16, he studied at Davidson College in North Carolina for his bachelor's degree. He took up graduate education at Yale University studying food chemistry with Russell Chittenden and Lafayette Mendel. He was granted a Ph.D. in 1911.[3]


Rose taught for a time at University of Pennsylvania with Alonzo Taylor. Taylor recommended him to University of Texas Galveston Medical School to organize a department of biochemistry. In 1922, he went to the University of Illinois as professor of physiological chemistry, a title which was changed to professor of biochemistry in 1936. From 1922 to 1955 he transformed his department into a center of excellence for the training of biochemists.[4]

At Illinois, Rose focused his research work on amino acid metabolism and nutrition. He found that the 19 amino acids then known were not sufficient for growth,[5] and this led to his discovery in 1935 of the last of the common amino acids, α-amino-β-hydroxy-n-butyric acid, later named threonine.[2] His studies also distinguished the amino acids that are absolutely essential from those that are necessary only for optimal growth. His studies further led him to the point where it was "practicable to evaluate proteins in terms of their ability to meet human needs." In June 1949 he published "Amino Acid Requirements of Man".[6]

Rose served as President of the American Society of Biological Chemists from 1939 to 1941. He was appointed to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, which advised government agencies on dietary recommendations.[1] Rose retired from the University of Illinois in 1955.

He recalled the role of Yale through the work of Samuel William Johnson, Chittenden, and Mendel in 1977 with the article "Recollections of personalities involved in the early history of American biochemistry".[7] Further, he recounted the biochemical advances he witnessed in "How did it happen".[8]

Awards and honors


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. Thesis: Studies in intermediate metabolism; mucic acid and carbohydrate metabolism; the physiology of cratine and cratinine elimination, their relation to carbohydrate metabolism
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  5. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. Classic reprint: Nutrition Reviews 34(10):307–9
  7. Journal of Chemical Education 46:759–63 and Nutrition Reviews 35(4):87–94
  8. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 325(1):229–36
  9. Spencer award winners from Kansas City branch of American Chemical Society

External links