Frank Gibson rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected bacterial physiologists of his era. His identification of the elusive branch-point compound in the pathway of aromatic biosynthesis served as an initiation point for a sustained period of investigation in which the genes, enzymes and intermediates in the various pathways to phenylalanine and tyrosine, the quinones, enterochelin and 4-aminobenzoate were identified and examined in detail. Studies on the function of ubiquinone led to an examination of oxidative phosphorylation and to the F1F0-ATPase of the bacterium Escherichia coli. With Graeme Cox he established a group of researchers who in the 1980s applied the various techniques of microbial genetics to construct a molecular profile of the proteins, which constituted the F0 membrane-embedded part of the F1F0-ATPase. This work resulted in the formulation in 1986 of a rotational model and the identification of several residues that could comprise a pore through which the protons, which drove the rotation, could pass. He trained many research students during his lifetime and was an exemplary role model. Outside the laboratory he lived a full life, being an ardent skier, scuba diver and tennis player to name but a few of his pursuits. He is survived by his wife Robin and their son, Mark; by Frances, the daughter from his first marriage; and by grandchildren Teresa, Luke and Simon. His first wife, Margaret, and their second daughter, Ruth (mother of Teresa, Luke and Simon), are both deceased.
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