David S. Sigman, 62; UCLA Teacher Started Bioorganic Chemistry

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

David S. Sigman, 62, an internationally known UCLA professor of chemistry and biological chemistry, died Sunday at his home in Brentwood after a 2 1/2-year battle with brain cancer.

“David Sigman created a new field of bioorganic chemistry when he discovered that complexes of small organic molecules with metals could mimic large enzymes in cutting DNA, the molecule that contains our genetic blueprint,” said Steven Clarke, director of UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute, which Sigman co-founded.

Sigman’s methodology, which allows the targeting of specific genes, is being used to develop new anti-cancer drugs.

Born in New York City in 1939, Sigman attended Oberlin College where he graduated magna cum laude in chemistry in 1960. In 1965, he received his doctorate from Harvard. He did postdoctoral work at the Harvard Medical School and served briefly as an instructor at Harvard before joining the department of biological chemistry at UCLA in 1968.


While at UCLA, Sigman published more than 130 research papers and served as editor of the respected reference series “The Enzymes” since 1988.