Dr. Franklin R. Leach, Professor of Enzymology and Analytical Biochemistry at Oklahoma State University, was presented with the Academy's Award of Merit in recognition of his outstanding service as Editor of the Proceedings, 1990-1996.
Dr. Leach has been an "Okie" since 1960, but was born in Gorman, Texas, on April 2, 1933. After two years at Cisco Junior College, he completed his B.A. in 1953 at Hardin-Simmons University, graduating summa cum laude with a major in chemistry and minors in biology and mathematics.
He then chose to study biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Dr. L.J. Reed and received a Ph.D. in 1957. Subsequently, Dr. Leach went to Berkeley, CA, as a National Research Council Fellow working with Dr. E.E. Snell.
In 1957, he was a research associate at OSU with Dr. L. M. Henderson and a President's Fellow for the American Society for Microbiology at the University of Illinois, with Dr. W.J. Rutter. In 1960, Dr. Leach began teaching at OSU as an Assistant Professor; in 1963 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1968 to Professor.
Dr. Leach's current line of inquiry has lead to the appropriate nickname "Firefly"; he studies the various uses of firefly luciferase, the enzyme that uses ATP, luciferin, and oxygen to produce the firefly's light.
While at OSU, Dr. "Firefly" Leach has held other prestigious appointments. As a Visiting Scientist at Anderson Hospital & Tumor Institute, he worked with Drs. T. Matney and M. Mandel (1963-1967). In 1965-66, Dr. Leach was a Research Fellow in Biology with Dr. R.L. Sinsheimer at CalTech. The National Cancer Institute awarded Dr. Leach a Research Career Development Award for the period 1962-1972.
A prolific writer, Dr. Leach has published in journals such as the American Journal of Physiology, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Journal of Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence, Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, and published chapters in Hastings, Kricka, and Stanley's (eds.) book Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence: Molecular Reporting with Photons.
In addition to his many other contributions to the Oklahoma Academy of Science, Franklin edited volumes 70-76 of the Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. During his term as editor, he and Bob Freeman made the transition from typesetting based on paper manuscripts to asking authors to submit their papers electronically. This change saved the journal (and the authors) considerable money and speeded the production process.
Finally, Leach's vision for the journal included working with authors "to transform a submitted manuscript into a scientifically accepted and publishable manuscript." His rigorous use of peer reviewers (often not very popular with authors) ensured the quality of the manuscript, which, ultimately, meant that readers were getting the best science.
The net result of these changes was a journal that continued to improve, not only in the production process (cutting costs and reducing errors), but also in content. POAS is a journal that all members of the Academy can be proud of and recommend to their colleagues. This Award is but small thanks for all Franklin Leach has done, for the Academy both as a scientist and an editor.