Historical Thank-yous
by Donald Nicholson

I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the many biochemical gurus and others who have motivated, guided, and positively criticised my biochemical creations over the years. It began when my first, crude, hand-drawn prototypes in 1955 received an encouraging reception from colleagues in the Department of Biochemistry at Leeds and especially from Stan Dagley (Dag) with whom I later wrote An Introduction to Metabolic Pathways, which became the prototype "minimaps". The publication of the first printed Metabolic Pathways Chart five years later met with hugely encouraging approval from the Professors of Biochemistry at both Cambridge and Oxford. Rudolph Peters used it in a book and in a prestigious lecture; Hans Krebs found it "exceedingly valuable" and for years thereafter sent appreciative letters with successive editions.

Over the next 40-odd years many colleagues at Leeds—especially Ed Wood and Peter Henderson—have been the first of many sources of guidance. Martin Brand at Cambridge and Malcolm Watford at Rutgers have constantly and patiently offered their differing expertise to enhance the clarity and accuracy of some of the trickiest and most important of the maps. The Nomenclature Committee of the IUBMB has official oversight and some of their busiest members have spent untold hours assessing and correcting my numerous biochemical and typographical errors. To Hal Dixon at King's College Cambridge, to Dick Cammack at King's College London and to Keith Tipton at Trinity College Dublin, I am especially grateful.

The recent reproduction of the minimaps in the IUBMB's Journal Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education (BAMBED) has involved the whole-hearted cooperation of some of the leading workers in the differing fields. In addition to some mentioned above, I am truly grateful to Peter Rich in London, Vladimir Skulachev in Moscow and Richard Hanson in Cleveland for correcting, updating and then writing wide-ranging and (mainly) enthusiastic historical "re-views".

 

In a very different but invaluable way I must thank Andrew McDonald, one of Keith Tipton's post-docs at Dublin. For many years he has been my guide and mentor on computers (I was 80 before I got one), the internet and other hidden mysteries. The minimaps have all gone to him prior to the IUBMB website and he has converted them into formats most useful for different purposes on the Web. He has also linked the enzyme reference (EC) numbers in the maps, so that selecting them leads to the Enzyme List. The maps thus all become integrated into the world of interrelated databases.

Finally, I must pay tribute to two prestigious but very different organisations in whose hands the future of all this work will lie —The International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, to whom all the copyrights have been assigned— and the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, publisher for many years of the Metabolic Pathways Charts. An agreement has just been signed whereby Sigma becomes uniquely involved with the IUBMB in the development and perpetuation of our Metabolic Pathways Charts, Minimaps and Animaps. It also makes a valuable contribution to the IUBMB Travel Scholarships which enable Young Scientists, particularly from developing countries, to attend IUBMB Meetings and meet other scientists, thereby widening their limited horizons.

This potentially creative interrelationship is now deepened by the involvement of my good friend and colleague Ed Wood. He has a unique knowledge and understanding of all my work, and having edited the Biochemical Education Journal for more than 20 years he is now one of the world's best-known and widely travelled protagonists for biochemical education. Although he might not use the same language, Ed has the unique experience and ability to continue and enhance my vision:

"To Make Metabolism Meaningful, Wonderful and FUN."
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