Davis & Elkins College alumnus and University of Chicago Otho S.A. Sprague Distinguished Service Professor Anthony Kossiakoff, Ph.D. returns to his alma mater to deliver the Commencement Address to the D&E Class of 2024. The event takes place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, in the Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.

“The highlight of our academic year is always commencement ceremonies,” states D&E President, Chris A. Wood. “The transformative D&E educational experience in on full display as our students become our alumni. Welcoming back our distinguished alumnus, Dr. Kossiakoff, to impart wisdom to our graduates makes the day even more of a celebration.”

Anthony Kossiakoff graduated from Davis and Elkins College in 1968 with majors in Chemistry and Mathematics. He then followed in the scientific path of his Russian emigrant father, earning his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Delaware. Following post-doctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Kossiakoff was appointed Senior Biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory where he pioneered the use of neutron diffraction for studying protein structure.

In 1983 he joined Genentech, Inc., where he built a world-class structural biology and protein engineering group and served as a Research Director for 15 years. From Genentech, he was recruited by the University of Chicago in 1998 and served as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He now holds the position of Otho-Sprague Distinguished Service Professor. He is also a Professor in the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics and is a Senior Fellow of the Joint Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology.

Dr. Kossiakoff has served on numerous national committees to advise and evaluate research programs supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy. He was on the initial NASA advisory panel to evaluate research projects for the space shuttle. He was inducted into the University of Delaware Alumni Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2012 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and, in 2019, he was presented the Anfinsen Award from the Protein Society for lifetime achievements in protein science. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2023 for his distinguished scientific research achievements.

Dr. Kossiakoff’s primary research interests focus on providing a molecular understanding of the mechanisms involved in biological processes. He has been at the forefront of developing synthetic antibodies, publishing more than 180 peer-reviewed scientific papers pertaining to structural biology and protein engineering. He holds several patents stemming from his research work.

Dr. Kossiakoff attributes much of his scientific and professional success to the foundation in the sciences he received during his undergraduate years at Davis & Elkins College. Reflecting his abiding care for the College over the years, he returned on two occasions to present a lecture honoring the memory of the revered Dr. S. Benton Talbot and to receive an Honorary Degree Doctor of Science in 2011.