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Biographical entry Elliott, William Herdman (1925 - 2012)


5 June 1925
Spennymore, Durham, England
25 July 2012
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Bill Elliott was Professor of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide from 1965-1988 and earlier a Fellow and Professor of Biochemistry (personal chair) at the Australian National University 1957-1965. In his research he discovered glutamine synthetase, the enzyme system which synthesises taurocholic acid, and the synthesis of nicotinuric acid by liver mitochondria. With Bob Symons he established BRESA, a University of Adelaide biotechnology company and the first in Australia to market radioactive nucleotides for molecular biology research. Elliott was an active Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, serving on Council from 1969 to 1972, and being a member (later Chairman) of the Molecular and Biological Sectional Committees between 1966 and 1993. He collaborated with his wife, Daphne Elliott, on several books including Biochemistry and molecular biology (1997, 5th edition 2014), with translations into Russian and Japanese. Their final collaboration, How life works: the inside word from a biochemist (2015), was completed by Daphne after William's death.


Born 5 June 1925. Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1965.


1949 - 1951
Career position - Research Fellow, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
1951 - 1952
Career position - Rockefeller Fellow, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
1952 - 1957
Career position - Demonstrator, University of Oxford
1957 - 1965
Career position - Fellow and Professor of Biochemistry, Australian National University
1965 - 1988
Career position - Professor of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide
1965 - 2012
Award - Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
1969 - 1972
Career position - Member of Council, Australian Academy of Science
1972 - 1974
Career position - President, Australian Biochemical Society
Award - Lemberg Medal, Australian Biochemical Society
1982 - 1988
Career position - Member, Research Grants Advisory Panel for the National Biotechnology Programme
1988 - 1997
Career position - Member, Science Policy Working Group, Australian Academy of Science
Award - Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and science in molecular biosciences

Related Awards

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Rogers, George, 'In memoriam Daphne Elliott', Australian biochemist, 49 (2) (2018), 18-9. Details
  • Rogers, George E., 'William Herdman Elliott 1925-2012', Historical Records of Australian Science, 24 (2013), 80-95. Details
  • Rogers, George E. and Elliott, William H., 'Robert Henry Symons, 20 March 1934 - 4 October 2006', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 54 (2008), 383-400. Details
  • Rogers, George E. and Elliott, William H., 'Robert Henry Symons 1934-2006', Historical Records of Australian Science, 19 (2) (2008), 191-213. Details


Resource Sections

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn