Frederick Sanger


Frederick Sanger

Frederick Sanger
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1958

Born: 13 August 1918, Rendcombe, United Kingdom

Died: 19 November 2013, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Prize motivation: “for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin”

Prize share: 1/1

Also awarded: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1980


Frederick Sanger was born in the small village of Rendcomb, England. His father was a doctor. After having converted to quakerism he brought up his sons as quakers. Frederick Sanger studied and received his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1943. He remained in Cambridge for the rest of his career. Frederick Sanger was married with three children.


Proteins, which are molecules made up of chains of amino acids, play a pivotal role in life processes in our cells. One important protein is insulin, a hormone that regulates sugar content in blood. Beginning in the 1940s, Frederick Sanger studied the composition of the insulin molecule. He used acids to break the molecule into smaller parts, which were separated from one another with the help of electrophoresis and chromatography. Further analyses determined the amino acid sequences in the molecule’s two chains, and in 1955 Sanger identified how the chains are linked together.

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