ASBMB History

VIDEO: John Abel
Lecture, 1930

ASBMB Centennial Videos

Herbert Tabor

Mildred Cohn

Arthur Kornberg

More videos 

The History of ASBMB

The American Society of Biological Chemists (ASBC) was founded on December 26th, 1906 at a meeting organized in New York City by John Jacob Abel of the Johns Hopkins University. The meeting was attended by 28 other biochemists, many of whom had participated in the launch of the Journal of Biological Chemistry in the previous year, and who were subsequently joined by an additional 52 “charter” members. The roots of the Society were in the American Physiological Society, which had been formed some 20 years earlier, and, prior to the founding of the ASBC, had provided the principal forum for the dissemination of American research on the chemical aspects of biology. Indeed, it was the sense, as most strongly espoused by Abel, that this outlet was no longer adequate to serve the rapidly growing experimentation in this area, which led directly to the creation of the ASBC. From this modest group of 81 scientists from North America, the Society (now called the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) has grown into one of the most important learned scientific societies with over 12,000 members from around the world.

Since its founding, the Society has numbered in its ranks (and still does) an impressive cadre of scientists, who have often given freely of their time to promote and foster various Society activities that have in turn helped to catalyze the extraordinary advances in molecular bioscience in the 20th century. The histories of the Society, its journals, and its members are rich with facts and stories that describe these advances, particularly in the past century. This portion of the Society web site will be devoted to displaying such information. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to contact Angela Hopp, ( or Ralph A. Bradshaw, Society Historian ( if they have material of interest to this topic they would like to share.