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Severo Ochoa

Severo OchoaBorn: 24-Sep-1905
Birthplace: Luarca, Spain
Died: 1-Nov-1993
Location of death: Madrid, Spain
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Cementerio de Luarca, Asturias, Spain

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Synthesized RNA

Severo Ochoa's childhood hero was the Spanish scientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, and he was interested in science from his earliest years. He studied the physiology of muscle with Otto Meyerhof, researched thiamine (vitamin B1), and while studying high-energy phosphates he discovered the bacterial enzyme that allowed synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA), which carries hereditary qualities in all reproduction. For this he was awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with Arthur Kornberg. "In my life", he said, "biochemistry has been my only real hobby." After his wife's death in 1986, Ochoa spent his last years in retirement from scientific pursuits.

Father: Severo Ochoa (attorney, d. 1912)
Mother: Carmen de Albornoz
Wife: Carmen Garcia Cobian (m. 1931, d. 1986)

    High School: Instituto de Bachillerato, Málaga, Spain
    University: BA Biology, University of Madrid (1921)
    Medical School: MD, University of Madrid (1929)
    Scholar: Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Heidelberg (now Max Planck Inst., 1929-31, 1936-37)
    Teacher: Physiology, University of Madrid (1931-35)
    Scholar: Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, England (1937-38)
    Teacher: Biology, Oxford University (1938-41)
    Teacher: Pharmacology, Washington University in St. Louis (1942)
    Teacher: Medicine and Biochemistry, New York University (1942-46)
    Professor: Pharmacology, New York University (1946-54)
    Professor: Biochemistry, New York University (1954-74)
    Professor: Biochemistry, University of Madrid (1984-86, Autonomous University)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1959, with Arthur Kornberg
    National Medal of Science 1979
    Naturalized US Citizen 1956
    Roche 1974-86
    Spanish Ancestry

Author of books:
Reflections on Biochemistry (1976, co-author Arthur Kornberg)

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