Dr. Perry, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Dr. Robert P. Perry, former professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the School of Medicine, passed away July 15, 2013, at age 82.

Dr. Perry was also professor emeritus and the founding chair of the Stanley P. Reimann Chair in Oncology Research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC), where he retired from in 2006.

He became a professor at Penn in 1973 and served as an adjunct from 1976 until 1995.

While in the US Army Reserve, Dr. Perry acted as an Italian translator. In addition, he was a former president of the UNESCO-based International Cell Research Organization.

Some of his key discoveries have helped explain how the genetic blueprint is translated into the active cell products - enzymes and other proteins - that carry out the cell's functions. This process invariably involves transcribing the DNA's chemical messages into RNA, which ultimately sends orders to the cell's protein-making factories, called ribosomes.

Dr. Perry was the recipient of the Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award from FCCC and a Guggenheim Fellow (1974-1975). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1977.

He graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in mathematics in 1951 and earned a PhD in biophysics at the University of Chicago in 1956. Dr. Perry is survived by his wife, Zoila; a son, Rocco; daughters, Monique and Adele Perry Danziger; seven grandchildren; and a brother. Donations may be sent to the William J. Clinton Foundation, www.clintonfoundation.org.