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Derek Williamson's scientific career spanned the "Golden Age" of research into metabolic regulation, to which he made an important and sustained contribution. Derek joined Hans Krebs' laboratory at Sheffield University in 1946 and moved to Krebs' MRC Unit in Oxford in 1960. He elaborated an enzymic method for the determination of acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate [Williamson, Mellanby and Krebs, Biochem. J. (1962) 82, 90-96], which opened up the field of ketone body metabolism and its regulation and became a Citation Classic. Another Citation Classic followed [Williamson, Lund and Krebs, Biochem. J. (1967) 103, 514-527]. He moved with Krebs to the Metabolic Research Laboratory at the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1967, where he blossomed, formulating his ideas about the integrated regulation of metabolic pathways, particularly with regard to fatty acid oxidation, lipid synthesis and ketone body metabolism. His success was illustrated by more than 200 publications. Derek implanted and nurtured a sense of the excitement of scientific discovery in his colleagues and students, and he worked hard to provide a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment. Many lives have been enriched by the privilege of working with him.


Journal article


Biochem Soc Trans

Publication Date





237 - 241


Biochemistry, Fatty Acids, History, 20th Century, Ketone Bodies, United Kingdom