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Honoring Byron Kemper, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and Cellular and Structural Biology
Friday, September 6th, 2013

The College of Medicine at Illinois recognizes Dr. Byron Kemper, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and Cellular and Structural Biology, for outstanding contributions in teaching, research and administration.

Dr. Kemper joined the university in 1974 and became a full professor in 1986. With a joint appointment in the Departments of Pharmacology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology in the School of Cellular and Molecular Biology and the College of Medicine, Dr. Kemper has facilitated the careers of numerous highly successful graduate students and has prepared generations of doctors in pharmacological competence. In addition to teaching Pharmacology and Physiology for the College of Medicine, Dr. Kemper taught physiology, cell biology, and ethics courses in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

A productive researcher, Dr. Kemper published over 100 publications focused on cytochromes P450, a superfamily of hemoproteins that are involved in the oxidative metabolism of many compounds and play role in the activation or inactivation of drugs or carcinogenic agents. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the structure and function of drug metabolizing enzymes and of mechanisms regulation the expression of their genes. Peers recognize his laboratory to be one of the top leaders in the world on P450 trafficking and membrane insertion. He continues to be active in research in collaboration with his wife, Jongsook Kim Kemper, studying the role of nuclear receptors in regulation of liver metabolism

Dr. Kemper’s research has been highly regarded at the national level. He has served as member of the Physical Biochemistry Study Section, National Institutes of Health. Participation in a Study Section is a great honor and recognition. He has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for 3 five-year terms.

Of great value to the College of Medicine was Dr. Kemper’s service as the Head of the Department of Pharmacology and of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. His years of service earned him the reputation of being thoroughly organized, considerate and an insightful leader.

Dr. Kemper earned a B.A. in Chemistry, cum laude, from Wabash College in 1965 and a PhD in Pharmacology from Stanford University in 1969.

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