Dr Ulrich Loening has a BA and D.Phil in biochemistry from Oxford, and continued a typical research and teaching career dealing with protein synthesis and nucleic acids, in the Departments of Botany and then Zoology in the University of Edinburgh from 1959 to about 1989.
He developed various electrophoretic methods for analysis of RNA and its processing and transport to the cytoplasm and confirmed the emerging idea that plant chloroplasts evolved from symbiosis with blue-green algae – natural genetic engineering.
Following long-held interests, starting with natural history, gardening and farming as a kid, he became more and more involved with society’s ecological impacts. He helped to prevent closure in 1976 of the recently founded (Waddington 1972) Centre for Human Ecology (CHE), became its Director in 1984, and retired in 1995. In CHE he organised numerous workshops and lecture series on human ecological impacts and co-founded energy conservation organisations, organic farming bodies and a small “sustainable forest” timber company.
With his wife Francesca he converted two historic buildings towards eco-sustainable living. He plays the cello.