Biochemistry and Biochemists: Who Were They and What Did They Discover?


Manuel F. Varela, PhD –  Professor, Biology, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA
Ann F. Varela – Instructor, Mathematical Sciences, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA
Michael F. Shaughnessy, PhD – Professor of Psychology, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico, USA

Series: Biochemistry Research Trends
BISAC: SCI007000
DOI: 10.52305/TGMI7289

The book Biochemistry and Biochemists: Who Were They and What did they Discover is an series of twenty five reviews regarding the top twenty five biochemists of the last two hundred years. The book chronicles the work and discoveries of research scientists from various parts of the world (Severo Ochoa of Spain, John Earnest Walker of Great Britain, Luis Leloir of France, Jens Skou of Denmark as well Masayusa Nomura of Japan). Some of these biochemists did foundational work (Albert Szent-Gyorgy in the realm of vitamin C ) and others did exemplary work into some of the most important realms of their time ( such as Dorothy Hodgkin and her explorations into the structures of penicillin and insulin ). Enzyme kinetics was explored and researched by Maud Menten and Leonor Michaelis.

The lives and explorations of these individuals as well as relevant anecdotes regarding their lives are explored in this book. For example, Jakub Karos Parnas, a well known scholar and researcher died in the famous Lyubyanka Prison in Moscow, although the exact cause of his death may never be known. Luis Leloir was born in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and went on to achieve greatness and crucial insights in sugar metabolism and glycogen biosynthesis.

Some of these researchers investigated things as simple as water ( and their transporation into and out of cells ) and others offered such profound ideas such as Albert Kluyver and his comments that “all organisms do biochemistry”.

In a sense, all students of biochemistry as well as chemistry would do well to learn about these biochemists, their discoveries and a bit about their lives- as many led many challenging lives- such as escaping from the Germans in World War II. Each of the biochemists here in this text had something to offer the realm of science and many were rewarded with the highest honor imaginable- the Nobel Prize- and some of them succeeded in their chosen field of endeavor- even though they may have failed Anatomy and Physiology four times!

Investigations into DNA, ATP and these realms also are highlighted in this book as these fundamental concepts are obviously of critical importance in the realm of biochemistry.

This book is first a serious exploration into the discoveries of these biochemists while at the same time an interesting examination of the lives, and loves and trials and tribulations of these biochemists who literally changed the face of biochemistry over the years.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Edward Abraham

Chapter 2. Peter Agre

Chapter 3. Gunter Blobel

Chapter 4. Paul Boyer

Chapter 5. Christian de Duve

Chapter 6. Gustav Embden

Chapter 7. Walter Gilbert

Chapter 8. Dorothy Hodgkin

Chapter 9. Frederick Gowland Hopkins

Chapter 10. Eugene Kennedy

Chapter 11. Albert Kluyer

Chapter 12.Arthur Kornberg

Chapter 13. Louis Leloir

Chapter 14. Albert Lehninger

Chapter 15. Leonor Michaelis

Chapter 16. Maud Menten

Chapter 17. Otto Myerhoff

Chapter 18. Masayasy Nomura

Chapter 19. Severo Ochoa

Chapter 20. George Palade

Chapter 21. Jakub Karol Parnas

Chapter 22. Jens Skou

Chapter 23. Albert Szent Gyorgyi

Chapter 24. John Ernest Walker

Chapter 25. Paul Zamecnik


Selected Bibliography

Biochemist Timeline


“The authors have created an interesting blend of life stories, science and history that shape Biochemistry today. The series of questions and answers keeps the text and figures fun and accessible for all to enjoy and teaches us that the road to discovery is an exciting adventure that never ceases to amaze. Recommended to anyone who is curious about how these important pioneers over their lifetime helped uncover the molecular basis of life itself.” -Elliott Stollar, University of Liverpool, Great Britain

“Due to pressures at work, I only had time to dip into a selection of the chapters, but I found that I was hard pressed to put this book down. Apart from the obvious relevance of these amazing researchers’ work, what I also found totally absorbing were the little personal details that the authors have uncovered. I hope others get as much pleasure as I did reading this book!” -Nick Wright, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Wingate University, Wingate, USA

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