Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dr. David Pressman

               Today’s I wanted to present to you a man that was well known for his contributions to Immunology. David Pressman attended the University of California in Los Angeles in 1937 under the recommendation from Linus Pauling, who thought Pressman was very gifted with his field of study. Through his efforts Mr. Pressman became a very sought after person for research, and in 1942 he was invited by E. E. Ecker at Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio to be a part of the research team for Immouno-Chemical Chemistry. After a period of consideration Pressman decided to turn down the offer to join Ecker’s research team to pursue other interests. This lead David to applying for a position at the University of Southern California, he was turned down and was suggested that he try to go to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
                After several years of conducting his own research on Immuno-Chemical Chemistry David Pressman was approached by Dr. Cornelius Rhodes of the Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. After accepting a position with the institute Dr. Rhodes began to take special interest in Mr. Pressman and more importantly his work on Immuno-Chemical Chemistry. Rhodes then gave Mr. Pressman his private technician and histologist to aid his research until a more suitable staff could be hired on.  In letters between David Pressman and Linus Pauling we know that Pressman was invited by Dr. Rhodes to run his “Pet Project” which was under the Immunochemical Division of the research center. This would be where Pressman begins his work with Mitochondria and how an antibody molecule can enter a cell.
                One of David Pressman’s achievements was his paper entitled “The Zone of Activity of Antibodies as Determined by use of Radioactive Tracers.” Although his work was considered a breakthrough in Immunology and the paper was a grand achievement Dr. Pressman was encouraged to retitle the paper to narrow down on his specific goal of the project. That is why the paper was later renamed “Locating the Site of Action of Nephrotoxic Anti-Kidney Serum through the use of a Radioactive Tracer.” Dr. Pressman also wrote the chapter on Antibodies as Specific Chemical Reagents for VOL. III of Advances in Biological and Medical Physics. In 1961 Dr. Pressman made another breakthrough discovery with his lab partner Dr. Roholt on sequences in the polypeptide chain associated with the region of the specific binding site of antibodies.  They then published a paper titled “Isolation of Peptides from an Antibody Site.”
                Unfortunately David Pressman committed suicide in June of 1980, which came as a shock to his wife Mrs. Reinie Pressman as well as his lifelong friend Dr. Linus Pauling. Linus and Eva Pauling maintained contact with Reinie Pressman for the next two years until January of 1982 when they received word from Adele Pressman that Reinie had followed her husband into death by committing suicide herself.

For Additional documents concerning Dr. David Pressman, Linus Pauling, and Dr. Rhodes please visit the Linus Pauling Archives Collection at Oregon State University or online at

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