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March 19, 2007

Oxford University Professor Raymond Dwek Appointed To Chair of Technology and Society

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Raymond Dwek, director of the Glycobiology Institute at Oxford University, to the Chair of Technology and Society in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

While in residence, Dwek hopes to address several topics: the environment, specifically the desertification or absence of water and the "real Green Line," the rehabilitated land in the Negev, the desert region of Israel; public health, specifically the acceleration of the development of an AIDS vaccine; and university/industry relationships: does commercialization of research results threaten a university’s principal mission?

Dwek is currently professor of glycobiology and director of the Glycobiology Institute at Oxford University. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1963 and a master’s degree in 1964 from Manchester University. He received a doctorate degree from Oxford in 1966 and was awarded a doctorate from Oxford University in 1985.

Dwek’s early research work, 1963 to 1973, was concerned with novel applications of nuclear magnetic resonance, which was summarized in his 1973 book "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Biochemistry: Applications to Enzyme Systems." He pioneered the application of magnetic resonance to antibody molecules. His subsequent work on the antibody molecule focused on the structural and functional roles of carbohydrates.

In 1988, he invented the term "glycobiology," the study of sugars attached to proteins and lipids. The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1991.

Dwek also pioneered industrial-academic partnerships. In 1982, he secured a grant with Monsanto Co., Oxford University’s first major interaction with an industrial company in its 800-year history. As a result, Dwek and his colleagues were able to develop technology for studying sugars attached to proteins. This led to opportunities for drug discovery which eventually led to worldwide approval of a drug for Gaucher disease and new approaches for anti-viral agents for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C viral infections, as well as a novel vaccine approach for HIV/AIDS.

In 1988, Dwek founded Oxford GlycoSciences, Oxford University’s first-ever spin-off company, using the technology emerging from his laboratory. In 1991 he established the Glycobiology Institute at Oxford University and became its director. He also was head of the Department of Biochemistry at Oxford from 2000 to 2006.

Dwek has served on a number of institutional and corporate boards, including United Therapeutics, USA. His scientific positions include scientific governor of the Scripps Research Institute and personal special adviser on biotechnology to the president of Ben Gurion University, Israel, where he has been involved in helping to build a National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev.

The author of three books, over 500 scientific articles and a large number of editorials for both scientific and general audiences, Dwek is a co-inventor on more than 70 patents. He is also the recipient of many honors and awards.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information on fellowships, grants and programs, visit

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PR 07-052
ISSN 0731-3527

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