The University Record, October 3, 1994

FACULTY AWARDS David R. Engelke, Faculty Recognition Award

An outstanding biochemist and superb faculty citizen, David Engelke has made noteworthy contributions in biochemistry and genetics through his research on the processes of gene expression. He has expanded his work far beyond his primary field of molecular biology, applying his creative skills to collaborative, interdisciplinary projects on challenges like AIDS.

The ability to combine genetic and biochemical analysis is a crucial step in untangling complex biological systems, yet few have matched David Engelke’s success in orienting his research in this direction. Professor Engelke’s research examines DNA and RNA recognition in higher organisms, and it focuses mainly on two important aspects of how cells appropriately express genetic information. His recent discovery of promoter interference—that expression of one gene can block expression of neighboring genes—is a fascinating observation that will undoubtedly lead to further excitement among the scientific community and perhaps contribute to gene therapy in the battle against cancer or viral infections such as AIDS.

Despite the multifaceted demands of his research program, David Engelke has remained a committed teacher and mentor, and his broad interests have led to several collaborative projects that have benefited the larger research community at Michigan. Acknowledged as a major resource, Professor Engelke is generous with his time, intellect, and materials. He helped to initiate the University’s Human Genome Center, and is currently a co-director for the cooperative AIDS project. For the last six years, he has headed a course on the biochemistry of nucleic acids and gene expression, one of the largest and most popular courses in the Medical School.

For his excellence in research and teaching, outstanding student mentorship, superb collegial interactions, and unselfish service to the Department of Biological Chemistry and the University of Michigan, we are pleased to honor David Engelke with the Faculty Recognition Award.