Donald Moss

In July 2023, we changed our name from AACC (short for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) to the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM). The following page was written prior to this rebranding and contains mentions of the association’s old name. It may contain other out-of-date information as well.

1985 AACC Lectureship Award

Donald W. Moss will receive AACC National Lectureship Award, sponsored by Technicon Diagnostics Systems Division, Technicon Instruments Corp.

Dr. Moss has had an outstanding academic and professional career. He is currently professor of clinical enzymology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London, and honorary biochemist to Hammersmith Hospital, London. He is also vice-dean of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. His career has been quite productive, including contributing to over 140 publications and authoring four books, one of which has been published in Swedish, Russian, and French editions and another of which has been published in a Russian edition.
Dr. Moss received the M.A. from Cambridge University in 1957 and the Ph.D. in biochemistry (1967) and the D.Sc. degree (1976) from the University of London. His longstanding commitment to teaching has included a post as senior lecturer in clinical chemistry at Edinburgh University and honorary biochemist to the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board in Scotland. Dr. Moss has also served in the Royal Postgraduate Medical School as senior lecturer in chemical pathology, University of London, 1969–1972.

His distinguished career in research over the past 20 years has been concerned primarily with the biochemistry and chemical pathology of human alkaline phosphatase—in particular, in seeking to determine whether these ubiquitous enzymes are identical throughout the body or if instead there are organ-specific differences that can be exploited as an aid to differential diagnosis. He established that the alkaline phosphatases of small intestine and placenta are distinct from that in other organs, which also differ from one another but less markedly. Within each tissue, alkaline phosphatase exhibits considerable heterogeneity with respect to molecular charge and, to a lesser extent, molecular size. This has been shown to result from modification of a single enzyme, so that it is characteristic of that tissue, rather than from the presence of distinct phosphatase isoenzymes. These tissue-specific properties of the enzymes are retained when they are released into the circulation in disease, and early work on these properties revealed the hepatic origin of serum alkaline phosphatase in liver disease, which had earlier been the subject of much debate. Several of the techniques developed for studying phosphatase isoenzymes are now regularly applied in the analysis of blood specimens from patients to aid diagnosis of diseases of bone and liver. Studies of the substrate-specificity of the alkaline phosphatases have shown that these enzymes can hydrolyze pyrophosphate as well as orthophosphate substrates, contrary to earlier views, and have thus opened up new possibilities in the interpretation of the physiological role of the phosphatases.

His other research has mainly been concerned with the study of other enzymes of clinical interest, with the development of analytical methods for enzymes, and with the application of enzyme tests in general in diagnosis.

PScientific organizations of which Dr. Moss is a member include the Association of Clinical Biochemists; the Biochemical Society; and the Chemical Pathology Sub-group, Laboratory Developments Advisory Group, DHSS. He has also served on prestigious committees, including the Expert Panel on Enzymes of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, which he chaired for several years. He is currently president of the International Society for Clinical Enzymology. He has been symposium speaker at AACC national meetings several times in the past.