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Folin, Otto (04 April 1867–25 October 1934), biochemist and professor, was born Otto Knut Olof Folin in Åseda (Småland), Sweden, the son of Nils Magnus Folin, a tanner, and Eva Olofsdotter, a midwife. Having completed elementary schooling and because of a stagnant economy, Otto, at age fifteen, was sent to join his older brother, Axel, in Stillwater, Minnesota. Determined to learn English, pay his way, and get an education, Folin graduated from the local high school at age twenty-one, and then in 1892 earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota where he was managing editor of the university’s journal, the ...

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Hart, Edwin Bret (25 December 1874–12 March 1953), biochemist and nutritionist, was born near Sandusky, Ohio, the son of William Hart and Mary Hess, farmers. Hart developed an interest in the natural sciences at Sandusky High School. In 1892 he entered the University of Michigan and became an assistant to the chemist E. D. Campbell, who had lost his eyesight in a laboratory explosion. Hart’s duties included reading to Campbell and taking him places by tandem bicycle. In 1897 he received a B.S. in chemistry and had his research published as coauthor with Campbell. He then became an assistant chemist at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, performing routine food analyses for a year before being given the opportunity to work with Lucius Van Slyke on animal nutrition and dairy chemistry. In 1900 he took a two-year leave of absence to study for a Ph.D. with the protein chemist Albrecht Kossel at the University of Marburg in Germany. Kossel moved to Heidelberg in 1901, and Hart went with him. Heidelberg, however, would not accept the academic credits earned at Marburg. Unable to finish the degree requirements before returning to New York, Hart never obtained a Ph.D. From 1902 to 1906 he developed an outstanding reputation as a dairy chemist. In 1903 he married Ann Virginia De Mille, an actress and relative of ...

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Henderson, Lawrence Joseph (03 June 1878–10 February 1942), biochemist and physiologist, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Henderson, a businessman, and Mary Bosworth. Henderson attended high school in Salem, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1898. He received his medical degree from the Harvard Medical School in 1902 and then spent two postdoctoral years in Strassburg in the laboratory of Franz Hofmeister, a pioneer in the application of physical chemistry to biochemistry. Upon returning to the United States in 1904, Henderson joined the Harvard faculty as a lecturer in biological chemistry. He also carried out research in the laboratory of the chemist ...

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Christian Archibald Herter. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B014736).

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Herter, Christian Archibald (03 September 1865–05 December 1910), physician and biochemist, was born in Glenville, Connecticut, the son of Christian Herter, an artist and highly successful interior decorator, and Mary Miles. He was educated privately under the direction of his father, who chose a medical career for him. Herter received an M.D. from Columbia University in 1885, after which he undertook postgraduate work with pathologist ...

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Lusk, Graham (15 February 1866–18 July 1932), physiologist and biochemist, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of William Thompson Lusk, an obstetrician, and Mary Hartwell Chittenden. Having impaired hearing, young Lusk followed his father’s advice not to become a physician and instead studied chemistry at the Columbia School of Mines in New York, graduating with a Ph.B. in 1887. To study the biological sciences, Lusk traveled to Europe; in the next few years he worked first in Leipzig under the famous physiologist Carl Ludwig and then in Munich under the physiological chemist Carl Voit. In 1891 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Munich and returned to America full of enthusiasm for the Voit-Rubner doctrines in nutrition, which held that the energy derived from the metabolism of the three groups of foodstuffs—carbohydrate, fat, and protein—was exchangeable in the body in accordance with caloric equivalence. Voit and Rubner also stated that the metabolic rate was related to the body surface area of the individual....

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Murray, Henry Alexander, Jr. (13 May 1893–23 June 1988), biochemist, clinical psychologist, and Melville scholar, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Alexander Murray, Sr., a Scotsman who rose from impoverished circumstances to become a successful investor, and Fannie Morris Babcock, a New York socialite and daughter of eminent financier Samuel Denison Babcock, the founder of the Guaranty Trust Company. Spending the school year in Manhattan and summers on Long Island, Murray grew up in quiet and well-to-do circumstances as the middle of three children. The only apparent anomalies of his youth were an inordinate attachment to his mother, a mild stutter, and strabismus, or slight crossing of the eyes, a condition only partially corrected through a dramatic and somewhat spontaneous operation by a physician on the family dining room table while he was still a boy....

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Rose, William Cumming (04 April 1887–25 September 1985), biochemist and nutritionist, was born in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of John McAden Rose, a Presbyterian minister, and Mary Evans Santos. Rose’s family moved to North Carolina in 1881, living first in Morganton, then in Laurenberg. In Laurenberg, when he was twelve, Rose was placed in the Quackenbush School, but after two years his father found his son’s instruction was inadequate and decided to teach him at home. In this isolated environment, Rose’s father thoroughly drilled him in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. While Rose was receiving this classical education, he began reading ...

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Sutherland, Earl W. (19 November 1915–09 March 1974), biochemist and pharmacologist, was born Earl Wilbur Sutherland, Jr., in Burlingame, Kansas, the son of Earl W. Sutherland, a merchant, and Edith M. Hartshorn. Raised in a rural area, Sutherland fished, hunted, and acquired a love of nature early in his life. While receiving his secondary education in local schools, he also acquired a lifelong love of baseball, football, and tennis. Sutherland’s desire to study medicine and become a scientist was stimulated by ...

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Victor Clarence Vaughan. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Vaughan, Victor Clarence (27 October 1851–21 November 1929), biochemist and bacteriologist, was born in Mount Airy, Missouri, the son of John Vaughan and Adeline Dameron, farmers. He received his early education at home from his mother, from private tutors, and in a community schoolhouse. At the age of seventeen, he enrolled in Mt. Pleasant College, from which he graduated with a B.S. in 1872. Vaughan taught chemistry and Latin at Mt. Pleasant from his student days until 1874, when he moved to Hardin College, a women’s school, to teach the same subjects for a semester. In the fall of 1874, he enrolled in the University of Michigan to pursue graduate studies, his choice of institutions influenced by the fact that Michigan had a large, well-equipped chemistry laboratory. He received his M.S. in 1875 and his Ph.D. in 1876 for studies in chemistry, geology, and biology....

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Wilkerson, Vernon Alexander (21 August 1901–24 May 1968), biochemist, educator, and physician, was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. After attending Sumner High School in Kansas City (1913–1917), he entered the University of Kansas, where he majored in chemistry and graduated with an A.B. in 1921. He stayed an additional year at Kansas before attending the medical school of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where he earned the M.D. in 1925. During his medical studies, he listed his place of residence as Council Bluffs, Iowa. Next came a year of internship at Kansas City General Hospital No. 2, followed by a one-year appointment as house surgeon at Wheatley-Provident Hospital, also in Kansas City. These hospitals, located in a racially segregated city, served the African-American community exclusively and provided one of the few means available anywhere in the country for black medical graduates to acquire postgraduate training....