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The Noble Prize of Chemistry in 1970- Luis F. Leloir

By: Rachel Durbin

Luis F. Leloir was born on September 6, 1906 in Paris, France. Luis grew up with eight siblings. As a child he was very absorbed in science while the rest of his family was concentrated on rural movement. Luis began to examine natural phenomena after discovering knowledge about it in books at his home.  In the 1920s, Leloir invented the salsa golf which was formed out of mayo and ketchup. He came up with this idea after being supplied prawns with casual sauce.

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Text Box: Image One: Luis F. Leloir

 

In 1932, Luis graduated from the University of Buenos Aires medical school. While he was researching with Professor Bernado A. Houssay, Luis becomes attentive in adrenalin carbohydrate metabolism. Luis then spent a year pondering the oxidation of fatty acids in the liver at the laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Luis F. Leloir then moved to the United States to work as a research assistant at many schools. Luis F. Leloir married Amelia Zuberbuhler in 1943. They had a daughter named Amelia together.

In 1947, Leloir goes to Bueno Aires to examine how sugar in milk is made and handled by the human body. This study led to the conclusion that sugar nucleotides advice bodies to stock certain sugars to alter them into energy. In 1970, Leloir was awarded the Noble Prize for Chemistry in 1970 for his discovery of sugar nucleotides.  Luis F. Leloir was humble in his acceptance speech and mentioned how uneasy he felt standing up there accepting the award. Leloir has also won honors such as the Bunge and Born Foundation Award, the Benito Juarez Award, the Gardiner Foundation Award, and Columbia University’s Louisa Gross Horowitz Prize.

 

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Text Box: Image Two: Leloir in the lab.

As a Noble Prize of Chemistry winner you receive a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money.  The motivation of his prize was “for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates.” At the date he was awarded the award of the Noble Prize, Luis was working at the Institute for Biochemical Research in Bueno Aires, Argentina. After Leloir accepted this award he extended his studies in biochemistry.  
In Luis’ last years he taught at the University of Bueno Aires in the department of natural sciences. On December 2, 1987, Luis F. Leloir died. He died of a heart attack and is now buried in La Recoleta Cemetery. Luis’ lasting legacy of research on an international level is still being talked about to this day.