American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Larry D. Bowers, PhD
1990 Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

Larry D. Bowers will receive the 18th AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research. This award is sponsored by Roche Diagnostic Systems.

Dr. Bowers was born in York, PA, in 1950. He received an A.B. in chemistry in 1972 from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, where he was awarded the W. E. Weisgerber Award in Chemistry. He participated in a National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Program at Ohio State University, which stimulated his interest in bioanalytical research. As an undergraduate, he carried out research projects on the electrochemistry of vitamin K and the electron transport process in cytochrome c. His graduate work was in analytical chemistry at the University of Georgia under the direction of Peter W. Carr; he received his Ph.D. there in 1975. The fundamental aspects of his graduate work formed the basis of a well-regarded book, Immobilized Enzymes in Analytical and Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Bowers was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Clinical Pathology at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center from 1975 to 1977, training with the late Jack Aitchison and Robert Swanson. Under Dr. Aitchison’s mentorship, he studied the application of gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to clinical and forensic toxicology.

Dr. Bowers accepted a faculty appointment in the Clinical Chemistry and Medical Technology Divisions of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota in 1978. His research activities include pioneering work in stabilizing enzymes in organic solvents and in coupling reversed-phase HPLC and immobilized enzyme systems. He was one of the founders of the Minnesota Chromatography Forum, a highly respected chromatography discussion group. For his work in liquid chromatography, he received the L.S. Palmer Award for Outstanding Contributions to Chromatography in 1985.

In 1984, Dr. Bowers’ interests turned to a newly introduced drug, cyclosporine. Typical of his approach to research, his first publication in this area dealt with explaining the origin of the broad chromatographic peaks observed: the presence of slowly interconverting isomers. Other papers in the area included one of the first gradient methods for quantification of metabolites, and recognition that mass spectrometry was necessary to clearly characterize isolated metabolites. In 1987 his frustration with available HPLC/MS detection promoted a sabbatical as Visiting Professor at Cornell University in the laboratory of Jack Henion. During his stay there, he studied the anabolic steroid dianabol, using HPLC/MS and HPLC/MS/MS, which led to an explanation for the epimerization observed in the metabolism of dianabol. He also began studies on the sequencing of cyclic peptides by using ion-spray/MS/MS, which led to the determination of the structures of cyclosporine metabolites from less than 10 pmol of compound.

Dr. Bowers has more than 85 publications to his credit, including the chromatography chapters in Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Chemistry: Theory, Analysis, and Correlation. His research interests currently include study of the mechanism of toxicity of cyclosporine, development of non-silica-based HPLC packing materials, improved resolution of chromatographic peaks through use of diode array detectors, and drug metabolism studies with HPLC/MS/MS.

Dr. Bowers was promoted to the rank of Professor (with tenure) in 1988. During his career at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Bowers has had over $2,000,000 in NIH and other extramural research funding. In addition to his research activities, he is Assistant Director of the Clinical Chemistry Section, and Director of both the Drug Analysis Laboratory and the Health Sciences Mass Spectrometry Resource. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He has initiated a Postdoctoral Training Program in Clinical Chemistry, trained 12 graduate students and nine postdoctoral fellows, had two undergraduate research students, and taught in the Medical Technology program.

Dr. Bowers has been active in a variety of professional capacities. He will chair the 18th International Symposium on Column Liquid Chromatography (HPLC ’94). He has served the AACC since 1975 on various educational committees and commissions, has represented the Midwest Section in Council, has chaired the Council Steering Committee, was on the 1990 IFCC/AACC/CSCC Meeting Organizing Committee, and at present is a member of the Board of Directors. He is a member of the Board of Editors of Clinical Chemistry. He has been on the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry and the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. Professor Bowers has served on both National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health Special Study Sections.