Carl Price, 89, a pioneer in plant molecular biology and a member of the faculty for 40 years before retiring, passed away on September 25, 2016.
Funeral arrangements were made by Gleason's Funeral Home, Somerset.
Born in Long Beach, California, Price earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1949, then went to Harvard University, receiving a masterís degree in biology in 1951 and a year later a Ph.D. in physiology. He stayed one more year as a postdoctoral fellow before spending a year at Sheffield University in England in the laboratory of Hans Krebs, who received the Nobel Prize in medicine for the citric acid cycle in the same year.
Price then returned to the United States, doing research at Purdue from 1954 to 1956 and moving to Harvard from 1956 to 1959 as a research associate.
He then joined the Rutgers faculty, remaining for 40 years. He was first an associate professor in the Department of Plant Physiology at Cook College, where he was promoted to professor in 1963. Today the department is known as Biochemistry and Microbiology. In 1976 he moved to the Waksman Institute to increase his research activity, joining the Department of Biological Sciences and, in 1996, the newly founded Department of Genetics.
While at Rutgers, he spent time at other institutions, including the Institut de Biologie Moleculaire in Geneva, Switzerland, Princeton University, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the University of Arizona. He also spent many years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The major part of his research activity was devoted to the biochemistry of plastids. In the form of chloroplasts they are important for photosynthesis and in the form of chromoplasts for pigments. These studies became possible because of advanced centrifugation techniques that permitted the purification of plastids in quantities, where protein components could be studied in more detail.
Price contributed in particular to these centrifugation methods. Although he used an alga, Euglena gracilis, for many years as a source for plastids, he later turned to peppers for their great varieties in pigments. Clearly, plastid research enjoyed a second breakthrough with the advance of recombinant DNA. Initially, physical and genetic maps were constructed, but in 1986 the first plastid genome was sequenced in Japan. The third breakthrough of plastid biochemistry occurred here in the Maliga lab in 1990, when the plastid of higher plants was transformed with foreign DNA.
In 1987, Price assumed the editorship of the Plant Molecular Biology Reporter, which also served as a newsletter for the International Plant Molecular Biology Society. In 1990, he became the society's chairman of the Commission on Plant Gene Nomenclature. He also served as director of undergraduate studies, teaching many undergraduate and graduate courses and training many postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, retiring in 1999.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen Reardon, a daughter, and three sons.