John H. Crowe, Ph.D., became interested in the phenomenon of anhydrobiosis, or life without water, as a young schoolboy. Studies on the biochemistry of organisms that exhibit this phenomenon led to elucidation of the main mechanisms underlying anhydrobiosis. Surprisingly, those studies in turn led to numerous applications in human welfare. Thus, curiosity driven, basic research has, once again, resulted in practical applications.
Crowe is a professor emeritus of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis. His research interests are cellular dehydration and freezing. Current work is on stabilization of mammalian cells during freeze-drying. The first such cells, human platelets, have been successfully freeze-dried and clinical testing is in progress.
The thirty-third Kinter Lecture is given in memory of William B. Kinter, Ph.D., an investigator at the MDI Biological Laboratory from 1963 until his untimely death in 1978. Kinter’s interest in the effect of toxic compounds in the environment led to landmark papers on the effect of pesticides on eggshell thinning in birds. Studies of basic physiological effects of environmental pollutants, including crude oil, on the molecular and cellular level occupied him primarily until his death. Kinter’s own contributions, as well as those of his colleagues, were instrumental in shaping this branch of research at the MDI Biological Laboratory.