In memoriam: Nitrogen fixation researcher Vinod Shah

Vinod Shaw. Photo courtesy of Dhavan Shaw.
Vinod Shah. Photo courtesy of Dhavan Shah.

Vinod K. Shah, an emeritus senior scientist in the bacteriology department, passed away on Dec. 21, 2015 at Meriter Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He was 81 years old.

Shah was born on Jan. 25, 1934, in Vadodara, India. Vinod completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. He immigrated to the United States in 1965 and joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1966, first as a post-doctoral fellow and then as a research scientist. During his time at the UW, Shah became a leading researcher in the Department of Bacteriology and an internationally recognized figure in the study of nitrogenase, enzymes that allow organisms to fix atmospheric nitrogen. His pioneering work synthesizing the iron-molybdenum cofactor (FeMoCo) remains central to research in the field decades after its publication. In 1992, his distinguished career was honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research. He retired from UW in 1998 with emeritus status as a senior scientist.

For more on Shah’s life and accomplishments, please read his obituary and this nice article.