John C Craig, an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, died suddenly on 26 September of complications related to cardiac disease. John was 92 years old and still maintained an office at the School of Pharmacy at UCSF. His final research was a series of six papers with colleagues at the London School of Tropical Medicine to find out ‘just how the antimalarials kill the parasites inside the human red blood cells.’ John’s career began at the University of London where he received Bachelor of Science degrees in both Physics and Chemistry (with first class Honors) followed by a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Imperial College, London. From 1942 to 45 John was a Gas Identification Officer and instructed both military and civilians in Chemical Defense, for which he was awarded the Defense Medal.
John taught at London University’s Charing Cross Hospital in Organic Chemistry, was Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the University of Sydney (St Paul’s College) from 1948 to 1961, and also received the D.Sc. degree from Sydney University in 1962, for his research in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. In 1958 he became Visiting Scientist at The National Institutes of Health and Walter Reed Army Medical Center for research in anti-radiation drugs. John began his 30-year career at UCSF in 1960, teaching both at the undergraduate and graduate level. He was Professor of Chemistry from 1963 to 1971, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chairman from 1963 to 71, and Associate Dean of Research from 1971 to 1992. He was selected by the UCSF Academic Senate as the Annual UCSF Faculty Research Lecturer in 1974, and received the first Academic Senate UCSF Service Award in 1993.
His research produced over 250 publications in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry and focused on chemical structure and biological activity, including work on the synthesis of vitamin A, chemotherapy of tuberculosis and malaria, and development of stable isotope tracer technology for diagnostic tests for genetic diseases in infants and newborns (to replace the use of radioactive tracers). John was awarded the Research Award in Natural Products from the American Pharmaceutical Association Foundation in 1967, and the Research Achievement Award in Pharmaceutical Analysis from the American Pharmaceutical Scientists in 1988. He was elected to Fellowship in the Academy of Pharmaceutical Scientist in 1967 and to membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 1975. For the past 21 years John was a member of the UCSF board of the Faculty Emeriti Association and served as Vice chairman, Chairman and Historian of the state-wide Council of UC Emeriti.
John was active in amateur radio from the age of 14 years. In San Francisco he was a member of the SF Radio Club and the Cathay Radio Club. He participated in the UCSF Emergency Network.
Since finding a rare early English cookery book (the earliest cookery books were full of medicinal cures) on a barrow in London as a student, John was busy collecting antiquarian English cookery books. In 1988 the Bancroft Library, University California Berkeley presented 100 volumes of John’s collection in an exhibit titled ‘Four Hundred Years of English Diet and Cookery: 1541–1939’. He was a member of the Bancroft Council, Bancroft Library, 1989–1997, and edited ‘The Cookery Manuscript of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, 1870–1890, San Francisco’ which the Bancroft published in 1998.
He is survived by his wife Elaine of San Francisco, his daughter, Elizabeth (Eric) and grandchildren Benjamin and Katherine of Park City, Utah; his son, Anthony (Ruth) of Dorset, UK, and grandsons Thomas (Kelly) of Perth, Australia, and Matthew (Ruth) of Devon, UK, and four great grandchildren.
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Craig, E. John Cymerman Craig. Neuropsychopharmacol 38, 2733 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2013.277