Marvin A. Brennecke, M.D. grew up in Jackson, a small town in southeastern Mo., whose residents donated $5,000 to send Brennecke to medical school. After two years of medical school at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Brennecke transferred to Washington University and graduated in 1930. He served an internship at Missouri Baptist Medical Center before moving to Hawaii where he stayed until his death in 1994. Brennecke realized the importance of basic science research, and through a living trust, donated funds to support three endowed professorships: the Marvin A. Brennecke Chair in Molecular Microbiology, the Marvin A. Brennecke Chair in Biological Chemistry and the Brennecke Chair in Biophysics.
Professorship in Biophysics
Timothy M. Lohman, Ph.D., was named the Brennecke Professor of Biophysics in 2010. Lohman earned his A.B. in chemistry from Cornell University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. He did postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oregon’s Institute of Molecular Biology. He was a faculty member at Texas A&M University from 1981 to 1990, after which he came to Washington University School of Medicine and was appointed professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Lohman studies the unwinding of DNA by proteins called helicases. As cells divide, they must unwind the double helix of DNA to replicate the two strands. Unwinding also must occur before damage from chemicals or irradiation can be repaired. Lohman investigates how the helicases are assembled and how they use the energy supply of cells to unwind the DNA while translocating along the DNA filament. His lab also studies the SSB protein, a helix-destabilizing protein that facilitates the unwinding of DNA. Lohman is the author of more than 150 journal articles and sits on several editorial boards. He is a member of the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He received an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award in 1986 and was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004. He was named the Marvin A. Brennecke Professor in Biological Chemistry in 2000 and held that professorship until 2010 when he relinquished it to Dr. Peter Burgers to become the Brennecke Professor of Biophysics.