The People of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy On


Laurens Anderson
WISL Honorary Fellow


View the booklet from his memorial service

UW-Madison Emeritus Professor 1986 - 2018
Professor of Biochemistry 1951 - 1986

Enjoying a gluten-free carrot cake (his favorite) with Jerry Bell, Rodney Schreiner,
and Bassam Shakhashiri, on the occasion of his 98th birthday in May, 2018.

Professor Anderson is one of the world’s leading authorities on sugar chemistry. He earned his PhD at UW-Madison and went on to become a biochemistry professor, a post he held for 35 years. His years of retirement have not dimmed his interest in the chemistry of sugars, and he has continued his service by editing “Carbohydrate Research,” a journal covering all aspects of carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, for the first eight years after retirement.

When Professor Shakhashiri expressed interest in taking a closer look at the products and mechanism of the “Blue Bottle” experiment, Professor Anderson joined WISL as an honorary fellow and began working mostly with undergraduate research students. With the availability of modern tools like rapid scanning UV-visible spectrophotometers, HPLC, C-13 NMR spectroscopy, the research group aimed to identify the products and understand the mechanistic details of the air-oxidation reaction of glucose in the presence of dyes such as methylene blue. In 2012, he published a paper about his findings. Professor Anderson is a great asset to WISL—as a colleague and as a mentor.

The Blue Bottle Experiment
Resazurin Methylene Blue 

Professor Anderson was awarded the Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and served the society’s Wisconsin section for many years as both councilor and chairman. In 2006 he was honored by the UW-Madison Biochemistry Department with the establishment of the Laurens Anderson Chair in Biochemistry. The first holder, Professor Laura Kiessling says, “I love Andy. He is a wonderful carbohydrate chemist and I always benefit from both the wealth of information he possesses and his insight.”

More information about Professor Kiessling can be found here.
More information on Professor Anderson can be found here.

Forgotten Molecules
The fruits of an emeritus professor's 40-year career in biochemistry are contributing to the modern search for new medications
From Grow, Wisconsin's Magazine for the Life Sciences
May 14, 2018


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