Dr. Louis Edwin Henderson, PhD of Frederick passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Dr. Henderson was born on January 1, 1934 and was the husband of Ulla Henderson; married 41 years.
Dr. Henderson is survived by his son and daughter-in-law John and Jeanine Henderson; two grandchildren Ethan Henderson (12) and Ella Henderson (7); sister and brother-in-law Sue Pickering and Avery Pickering of Omaha, NE; nieces Cindy Narvaiz of Torrance, CA, Sara Nault of Omaha, NE and Revecca Seitchick of Omaha, NE.
Louis attended Omaha University, with a Major in Chemistry and a Minor in Math. He served in the United States Army for three years (1956-59). Dr Henderson obtained his PhD in 1965 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, with a Major in Biochemistry. Post-doctoral Fellowship was completed at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA (1965-68). He met his wife during his Post-doctoral tenure at Chalmer University in Gothenburg, Sweden as a Nobel Visiting Scientist (1968-73). Dr. Henderson was a Research Associate at Yale University in New Haven, CT (1973-76).
His career began in Frederick with the National Cancer Institute at Ft. Detrick in July 1976. He was the first to develop "whole killed virus" for use in HIV vaccine. Dr. Henderson was instrumental in the discovery of the nucleocapsid zinc finger domain, as a target against the AIDS virus and discovered that retroviruses modify their proteins by myristylation, a major advance in understanding the retroviral life cycle. He is credited with numerous discoveries including the reverse phase chromatographic methodology for the high resolution purification and analysis of complex protein mixtures, and the development of generated high resolution graphical representations of many viruses and cellular structures that are important in the conceptualization of solutions central to human health care. His dedicated work has appeared in nearly one hundred publications and continues today. Dr. Henderson was a mentor of many young scientists.
Dr. Henderson retired after 31 Years in 2007 as a Senior Scientist and Head of the Protein Chemistry Laboratory; a part of the AIDs Vaccine Program with SAIC.
Lou Henderson reflected on his own career with this quote: "where an obsessive problem solver can work among colleagues doing what he loves to do. I feel like the taxpayers of this country have let me spend my life making a living playing in a sandbox. I can only hope that in time some of it will prove beneficial and help to repay my debt."
During his retirement years he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, helping with science fair projects and coaching chess at Yellow Springs Elementary School. He also enjoyed traveling, including a trip to Spain and many trips to Mexico.
Condolences can be emailed to Louhende@comcast.net.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to MS Society at nationalmssociety.org/chapters/mdm/index/aspx.
Published Online in The Frederick News-Post on May 9, 2013