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Otto Warburg

(1883 - 1970)

Otto Heinrich Warburg was born on October 8, 1883. Warburg received his doctorate of Chemistry from the University of Berlin (1906) and doctorate of Medicine from the University of Heidelberg (1911). At Heidelberg, he began researching the process of oxidation. During World War I, he served in the Prussian Horse Guards.

In 1918, he became Professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute at Berlin. From 1931 to 1935, Warburg was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for cell physiology, where he investigated the metabolism of tumors and the respiration of cells, particularly cancer cells. He demonstrated that cancerous cells can live and develop, without oxygen.

His studies include the integration of carbon dioxide in plants, the metabolism of tumors, and the chemical component of the oxygen transferring respiratory agitation.

In 1931, Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work and discovery of the nature and mode of action of (Warburg’s) yellow enzyme. By 1932, Warburg had successfully isolated the first yellow enzymes, or flavoproteins. Since Warburg was Jewish, he was forced by the Nazi regime in Germany to decline a a second Nobel Prize Award in 1944. Nevertheless, the government did not imprison Warburg, because of his international reputation.

In addition to receiving the Nobel Prize, he was made doctor honoris causa at Oxford University in 1965. Warburg was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society in London. He was also a member of the Academies of Berlin, Halle, Copenhagen, Rome, and India.

He edited The Metabolism of Tumours (1931), wrote Mechanism of Photosynthesis (1951) and wrote New Methods of Cell Physiology (1962).

Warburg died on August 1, 1970.

Sources: Wikipedia; Nobel Prize Biography; Biography of Otto Warburg