It is with great sadness we report that Richard Perham, Emeritus Professor of Structural Biology and former Head of the Department of Biochemistry (1985-1996) passed away on Saturday 14th February.
In the late 1960s, Richard uncovered the critical importance of charge-charge interaction between the protein subunits during TMV self-assembly and, in his subsequent long and illustrious scientific career, he made groundbreaking contributions to protein chemistry, to the study of protein structure-function through rational mutagenesis, and to the use of macromolecular complexes as display scaffolds for immune presentation. His three-decade-long magnum opus culminating in a complete structure-assembly description of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex is arguably the greatest single testament to his remarkable tenacity, passion and biochemical insight.
In recognition of his many achievements, Richard received many awards and tributes, including election to the Royal Society (1984) and to the Academia Europaea (1992), Max Planck Prize (1993), the Novartis Medal of the Biochemical Society (1998), the Academy of Medical Sciences (2005) and the Diplôme d'Honneur from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (2011). In his “spare” time he was also Master of St John’s College from 2004-7 and editor-in-chief of the FEBS journal from 1998 to 2013.
Richard is survived by his wife Nancy Lane, a life Fellow at Girton since 1968, to whom he was married in 1969 and his children Temple and Quentin. Our sympathies go to Nancy, and to all those many people who knew and treasured Richard as friend, mentor and role model.