Christian de Duve – Cytologist and Biochemist
Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve who is popularly known as Christian de Duve was a renowned biochemist and cytologist, who won a Nobel Prize for his outstanding contribution in
|Name||Christian de Duve|
|Date of Birth||October 2, 1917, Thames Ditton, United Kingdom|
|Education||Catholic University of Leuven|
|Spouse||Janine Herman (m. 1943; d. 2008)|
his field. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1974, for discovering cell organelles called Lysosome and Peroxisome. Other than this, he is also known for having invented a number of scientific names.
Childhood of Nobel Prize Winner
Christian de Duve was born in 1917 in London into a family of Belgian refugees who had fled their country during the First World War. He went to school at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut which was situated in Antwerp. From an early age, his brilliance was apparent and he was the best student at school. In fact, his teachers pulled him out of the race such that other students could get a chance to win the award.
Later in 1934, he joined the Catholic University of Leuven. Since he aimed to be an endocrine specialist, he joined the lab of the famous Belgian Physiologist Joseph P. Bouckaert.
Early Life and Education
While he was in the final year of medical school, he enrolled in the Belgian army to fight against the Germans, but was immediately held captive. He however managed to escape his captors, thanks to his command on Flemish and German.
He soon resumed his medical studies and went on to gain an MD in the year 1941. His first research program was on insulin and he made some outstanding discoveries about it which led him to enroll into a chemistry course at the Cancer Institute to carry on with his research. His dissertation was widely acclaimed and was published as a book. He went on to train under Hugo Theorell, in order to improve his knowledge of biochemistry.
Career of Christian
In the year 1947, Christian de Duve joined his alma mater as a faculty in the physiological chemistry department. He soon graduated to become a full time professor at the University. He was soon approached by the President of Rockefeller Institute to head their laboratory. This was a major turning point in his career and he went on to head the laboratories of both Rockefeller as well as Leuven.
As the head of these laboratories, he plunged into research with great fervor. He went on to make important discoveries like Lysosome and Peroxisome. He also rediscovered Glucagon.
Most Famous Books of Duve
Christian de Duve was a brilliant writer and some of his books have become extremely popular. These include A Guided Tour of Living Cell, Blueprint for a Cell: Nature and Origin of Life, Vital Dust: Life as a Cosmic Imperative, Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Nature of Humanity to name a few.
Awards and Achievements
De Duve has won many awards for his works. Some of these are
- Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – 1974
- Francqui Prize for Biological and Medical Sciences -1960
- Canada Gairdner International Award – 1967
- EB Wilson Medal – 1989
- Title of Viscount – 1989
Personal & Married Life
In September 1930, Christian de Duve married Janine Herman. They had two sons and two daughters. On 4th May 2013, De Duve breathed his last at the ripe age of 95.