The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1970
Luis F. Leloir
Born: 6 September 1906, Paris, France
Died: 2 December 1987, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Affiliation at the time of the award: Institute for Biochemical Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates"
Luis F. Leloir was born in Paris
of Argentine parents on September 6, 1906 and has lived in Buenos
Aires since he was two years old. He graduated as a Medical
Doctor in the University of Buenos Aires in 1932 and started his
scientific career at the Institute of Physiology working with
Professor Bernardo A. Houssay on the role of the adrenalin
carbohydrate metabolism. In 1936 he worked at the Biochemical Laboratory of Cambridge, England, which
was directed by Sir
Frederick Gowland Hopkins. There he collaborated with Malcom
Dixon, N.L. Edson and D.E. Green. On returning to Buenos Aires he
worked with J.M. Muñoz on the oxidation of fatty acids in
liver, and also together with E. Braun Menéndez, J.C.
Fasciolo and A.C. Taquini on the formation of angiotensin. In
1944 he was Research Assistant in Dr. Carl F. Cori's laboratory
in St. Louis, United States and thereafter worked with D.E. Green
in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia
University, New York. Since then he has been Director of the
Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas, Fundación
Campomar. With his early collaborators, Ranwel Caputto, Carlos E.
Cardini, Raúl Trucco and Alejandro C. Paladini work was
started on the metabolism of galactose which led to the isolation
of glucose 1,6-diphosphate and uridine diphosphate glucose. The
latter substance was then found to act as glucose donor in the
synthesis of trehalose (with Enrico Cabib, 1953 ) and sucrose
(with Carlos E. Cardini and J.Chiriboga, 1955). Other sugar
nucleotides such as uridine diphosphate acetylglucosamine and
guanosine diphosphate mannose were also isolated. Further work
showed that uridine diphosphate glucose is involved in glycogen
synthesis and adenosine diphosphate glucose in that of
More recent investigations (with Nicolás Behrens) have dealt with the role of a polyprenol, dolichol, in glucose transfer in animal tissues.
Luis Leloir was married in 1943 to Amelia Zuberbuhler and has a daughter, Amelia. At present Leloir is Professor in the Faculty of Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. He is a member of the following academies; National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Nacional de Medicina, American Philosophical Society, Pontificial Academy of Sciences, and Honorary Member of the Biochemical Society (England). He has received honorary degrees of the following universities: Granada (Spain), Paris (France), Tucuman (Argentina) and La Plata (Argentina). Prof. Leloir has received the following awards: Argentine Scientific Society, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (United States), Severo Vaccaro Foundation (Argentina), Bunge and Born Foundation (Argentina), Gairdner Foundation (Canada), Louisa Gross Horowitz (United States), Benito Juarez (Mexico); and at present he is President of the Pan-American Association of Biochemical Societies.
From Les Prix Nobel en 1970, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1971
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.
Luis Leloir died on December 2, 1987.
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1970
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