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 starch.
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.
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.
Luis Leloir died on December 2, 1987.
Their work and discoveries range from paleogenomics and click chemistry to documenting war crimes.
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