In Memoriam: Dan S. Tawfik (1955–2021)
FEBS was saddened to hear of the untimely death of Dan Tawfik, a protein biochemist known for his work on enzyme evolution, who led a research group at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. For many years he served on the Editorial Board of The FEBS Journal, and you can read an obituary from Amir Aharoni and Sarel J. Fleishman published in the journal here.
Also of note at FEBS is an illustration of his generosity and social commitment. During the first period of his postdoctoral studies at Alan Fersht’s lab in Cambridge, UK, Dan received a FEBS Long-Term Fellowship. One topic of his research addressed the issue of cellular compartmentalization as a vital requirement for the evolution of all living organisms. He and his colleague, Andrew Griffiths, reproduced this linkage in the test tube by transcribing and translating single genes in the aqueous compartments of water-in-oil emulsions. This led to a Nature Biotechnology paper – Tawfik, D.S. and Griffiths, A.D. (1998) Nat. Biotechnol. 16, 652–656. doi: 10.1038/nbt0798-652 – and a patent was also issued based on this work. Dan’s immediate initiative was to arrange that part of the royalties paid for use of this patent should go to FEBS! Since then, FEBS has received an annual income from this patent.
Israel Pecht, FEBS Secretary General 2008–2016
Photo credit: Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel