▪ Abstract 

Much of the science underlying nutrition has come from biochemical studies. This certainly is true in our understanding of the metabolism and function of such micronutrient cofactors as vitamins and metal ions. My own interest stems from an early desire to understand the molecular events in an organism and ultimately to know the fate of those nutrients that are needed to maintain life. My training in chemistry, biochemistry, and nutrition was helpful in gaining knowledge about the interface among these disciplines. My interests followed an understandable trail, beginning with those factors that cause plant galls and continuing through carbohydrate metabolism to vitamins. After all, from studying such pentitols as ribitol with Professor Touster at Vanderbilt University through indoctrination with enzymes, vitamins, and coenzymes with Professor Snell at the University of California-Berkeley, it was rational to begin my independent academic life investigating the enzymes that convert a ribityl-containing vitamin, namely riboflavin, to its operational flavocoenzymes. While at Cornell University, I encountered Professor Wright, who shared an interest in biotin. My realization that there was a similar need to determine the metabolism of lipoate followed logically. Interactions with inorganic chemists such as Professor Sigel at Basel University, as well as inorganic chemists at Cornell, led to an interest in metal ions. As summarized in this article, my colleagues and I are pleased to have contributed to both basic knowledge about cofactors and to have utilized much of this information in extensions to applications. Along the way, I have served by teaching, researching, and administrating at the universities that provided my positions in academe, and I have worked to share the load of numerous public and professional duties that are summarized herein. Altogether it has been an enjoyable career to be a nutritional biochemist. I recommend it for those who follow.

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Literature Cited

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