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Gerhard Michal was born March 1, 1931 in Mies, Bohemia. He attended schools in Mies and (after 1945) in Regensburg, Germany. After the completion of Gymnasium (High School) he began the study of chemistry at the University of Regensburg and the Technical University of Munich. Already at this time he had become interested in biochemistry that eventually resulted in a Ph.D. thesis on heart metabolism under anoxic conditions. The medical portion of Dr. Michal's thesis was carried out at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri while the systems for biochemical analysis were developed at the Technical University of Munich. Dr. Michal's Ph.D. diploma was obtained in 1959. During his stay in the U.S., Dr. Michal met his future wife, Dea Druet. They were married in St. Louis in 1959.

After completion of his studies, Gerhard Michal joined the Boehringer Mannheim company. During this time at the branch laboratories in Tutzing, work on the introduction of enzymatic analysis into clinical chemistry was developed. Dr. Michal's own Ph.D. thesis work could be well integrated into Boehringer Mannheim's developments. Throughout the following years the field of enzymatic analysis in clinical chemistry expanded greatly and new analytical principles were added. The small branch laboratories at the company grew into two major plants in Tutzing and Penzberg. Gerhard Michal was promoted to head one of the departments and during his tenure Dr. Michal also contributed to the development of immunological systems and food analysis. Later on in his career as director for scientific planning, Dr. Michal was responsible for a multitude of scientific and organizational tasks. He authored or co-authored 75 papers.

Early in his career, Dr. Michal became interested in the context of biochemical reactions and their interaction in living systems. This led to the graphic representation of reaction sequences and then to creation of the wall chart Biochemical Pathways. The first edition of Biochemical Pathways appeared in 1968 and has been revised and expanded several times. Distributed by Boehringer Mannheim all over the world, the wall chart has become very popular with one million copies in print. During the preparation of the last edition of Biochemical Pathways, Dr. Michal enlisted the help of a number of coworkers to contribute to its development and broadened its scope considerably to address the greatly expanding scientific knowledge of biochemistry.

Based on this wall chart, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag Heidelberg and Gerhard Michal became interested in expanding the graphic information of biochemical pathways as an atlas in book form. In the book Dr. Michal depicts the pathways in greater depth while retaining the principle of concentrated presentation of scientific facts through graphical representation. Text and tables play a unique supportive function in the book not possible with the limited space available in the wall chart. Work on Biochemical Pathways: An Atlas of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology began in 1994 and continued with an increased rate after Dr. Michal's retirement from Boehringer Mannheim in 1995. The enormous amount of facts to be evaluated, selected and represented required intense work until late 1998 upon publication of the book. Dr. Michal worked with 24 co-authors on Biochemical Pathways whose collaboration was both invaluable and informative. Many other scientists gave valuable comments and critically reviewed chapters prior to publication.

Gerhard Michal and his wife reside in Tutzing, Bavaria in Southern Germany. Their three children now have families of their own, but they are close enough to allow Dr. and Mrs. Michal to enjoy frequent visits with them and their 6 grandchildren. Dr. and Mrs. Michal also make good use of their proximity to Munich and the many cultural possibilities the city offers by attending university lectures and art exhibitions. During the summer, Dr. Michal enjoys water sports at nearby Lake Starnberg and in the winter, cross-country skiing. Additionally, travel to various countries (including many visits to the USA) is a favorite activity.


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