Nathan O. Kaplan, PhD

1976 Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

Nathan O. Kaplan will receive the fourth the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (formerly AACC) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area, sponsored by the Boehringer Mannheim Corporation.

Dr. Kaplan, a native New Yorker, received his A.B. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. from the same university at Berkeley. He began his career as Assistant Biochemist, University of California, became a research chemist on the Manhattan Project, associate research biochemist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Instructor, Harvard Medical School. He then went on to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Biology, McCollum-Pratt Institute, The Johns Hopkins University. From 1957–68 he was Professor and Chairman of Biochemistry at Brandeis University. From 1968 to the present he has been Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at La Jolla.

Dr. Kaplan’s main interest has been the study of enzymes from both a theoretical and applied point of view. On the practical level he has been involved in developing instrumentation for the automated determination of enzymes on a clinical level. From prototypes, these instruments have evolved into sophisticated instruments that are produced by a number of different manufacturers. He has made basic contributions in developing kinetic methods that can be used to distinguish isoenzymes. Analyzers based on this type of approach are appearing that determine isoenzymes by kinetic measurements, an example being the stopped-flow instruments for determining lactate dehydrogenase isoenzymes. A microcalorimeter developed by Dr. Kaplan has been used in the determination of the kinetics of uricase and lactate dehydrogenase of particular biochemical interest and is routinely used in clinical chemistry laboratories.

Dr. Kaplan is the author or co-author of about 350 publications, most of them dealing with enzymes. He is best known probably as co-editor (with S. P. Colowick) of Methods in Enzymology (Academic Press). His research interests have been in enzymology, immobilized enzymes, affinity chromatography, and cancer chemotherapy.

Dr. Kaplan is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His awards are: Honorary Fellow of the Harvey Society; Sigma Xi; Sugar Research Award; Nutritional Research Award; Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry; Commonwealth Travel Fellowship; and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1964–5 and 1975).