Professor of Chemistry
2005 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
Iron is the second most abundant metal on the earth's surface and an
ssential element for all living cells. The biochemistry of iron in living cells, and
its impact on human nutrition, health and aging, is the focus of research being
done by Alvin Crumbliss '64.
Between his undergraduate studies, graduate school, and years spent as a researcher and educator, Crumbliss has spent a lot of time in academic institutions, but this hasn't diminished his appreciation for the blend of challenge and support he found as a student at Knox.
"I had a real feeling of being a part of an academic community," he says. "Through friendly competition and discourse, the students helped push each other to achieve more, while being led by faculty who gave the impression that they cared how well you did."
His time at Knox piqued his interest in graduate school, and he entered a Ph.D. program in chemistry at Northwestern University after graduating. After holding a post-doctoral research position at the University of Southern California, Crumbliss joined the chemistry faculty at Duke University in 1970, where he remains a professor today.
Crumbliss has held various administrative positions at Duke, including chairman of the chemistry department and director of undergraduate studies in chemistry. He is the recipient of the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award and the David and Janet Vaughn Brooks Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. Crumbliss has also held visiting faculty positions at several foreign universities, is an active member of the professional chemistry community, and has authored more than 175 research publications. He received the Knox College Alumni Achievement Award in 2005.
"Being able to participate in the world wide scientific enterprise and, in some small way, contribute to our fundamental understanding of how iron functions (and potentially malfunctions) in living cells is a professional achievement I am proud of," he says. "The Knox experience gave me the self-confidence to take on leadership positions within my profession as a faculty member and a research chemist."