1905-09-24 to 1993-11-01Severo Ochoa de Albornoz (24 September 1905 – 1 November 1993) was a Spanish physician and biochemist, and joint winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Arthur Kornberg.
During the summer he refined the assay procedure further and upon returning to Spain he and Valdecasas submitted a paper describing the work to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, where it was rapidly accepted, marking the beginning of Ochoa's biochemistry career.
Ochoa completed his undergraduate medical degree in the summer of 1929 and developed an interest in going abroad to gain further research experience. His previous creatine and creatinine work led to an invitation to join Otto Meyerhof's laboratory at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology in Berlin-Dahlem in 1929.
He then began postdoctoral study at the London National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), where he worked with Henry Hallett Dale. His London research involved the enzyme glyoxalase and was an important departure in Ochoa's career in two respects. First, the work marked the beginning of Ochoa's lifelong interest in enzymes. Second, the project was at the cutting edge of the rapidly evolving study of intermediary metabolism.
Within two years, he was offered the directorship of the Physiology Section in a newly created Institute for Medical Research at the University of Madrid Medical School. Unfortunately the appointment was made just as the Spanish Civil War erupted. Ochoa decided that trying to perform research in such an environment would destroy forever his "chances of becoming a scientist." Thus, "after much thought, my wife and I decided to leave Spain."
Ochoa left Spain and returned to Meyerhof's Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology now relocated in Heidelberg, where Ochoa found a profoundly changed research focus. By 1936 Meyerhof's laboratory had become one of the world's foremost biochemical facilities focused on processes such as glycolysis and fermentation. Rather than studying muscles "twitch," the lab was now purifying and characterizing the enzymes involved in muscle action but were involved in yeast fermentation.
In 1942 he was appointed Research Associate in Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and there subsequently became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry (1945), Professor of Pharmacology (1946), Professor of Biochemistry (1954), and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry.