Charles M. Allen, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology retires

Charles M. Allen, Ph.D., retiring after 36 years at UF, has been a leading researcher on the biosynthesis and function of a class of lipids called prenols. His early studies at UF centered on prenols important to cell wall formation in bacteria and synthesis of protein-bound carbohydrate in mammalian cells. His team made major contributions to understanding the function of enzymes required for prenol biosynthesis, including the development of synthetic prenol precursors to aid investigations of enzyme active sites.

For the past decade he has studied how prenols modify proteins, a process important to cell division and differentiation. Allen’s current research focuses on an enzyme required for this protein modification in the malaria parasite, which kills 1 million to 2 million people worldwide each year. He is trying to determine whether drugs that inhibit the enzyme could stop the parasite from reproducing.

Allen helped develop and direct UF’s graduate program in biochemistry and molecular biology, while serving on more than 80 doctoral committees campuswide. He also taught and coordinated biochemistry classes for students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine, as well as for undergraduates. He plans to continue his teaching and research part-time as a professor emeritus.