December 9, 2010

Noted Biochemistry mentor, investigator Broquist mourned

Noted Biochemistry mentor, investigator Broquist mourned

Harry P. Broquist, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry emeritus, died Nov. 29. He was 91.

Dr. Broquist joined the Vanderbilt faculty as professor of Biochemistry in 1969 after achieving national recognition for his nutrition-related research at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He retired from Vanderbilt in 1987.

Harry P. Broquist, Ph.D.

Harry P. Broquist, Ph.D.

His research focused on the metabolism of the amino acid lysine in microorganisms and animals and had broad biochemical, nutritional and toxicological significance. He taught extensively to medical and graduate students and strengthened the nutrition-related biochemistry curriculum for medical students.

“Harry Broquist — always known in his lab as 'The Chief' — played a major role in mentoring graduate students and post-doctoral fellows,” said F. Peter (Fred) Guengerich, Ph.D., interim chair of Biochemistry, first holder of the Harry P. Broquist Chair in Biochemistry, and one of Dr. Broquist's students.

“He was one of the most influential people in my life in encouraging me to go into Biochemistry and guiding my career choices.”

Dr. Broquist became director of the Division of Nutrition at Vanderbilt in 1972. Under his leadership, the division developed as one of the strongest programs of biochemical nutrition in the country.

Dr. Broquist served as president of the American Institute of Nutrition in 1984, and he was a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Nutrition Reviews, and Annual Reviews of Nutrition. He was recognized at the national level by many awards, including the 1995 Conrad A. Elvehjem Award for specific and distinguished service to the public through the science of nutrition.

“He was a model of the integrity and personality of a faculty member, and he was really one of the nicest people in the biochemistry business,” Guengerich said.

Dr. Broquist is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marion Broquist, two children, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Vanderbilt Department of Biochemistry, attn: Marlene Jayne, 607 Light Hall.