Hans Adolf Krebs

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For other people of the same name, see Hans Krebs (disambiguation).
Sir Hans Adolf Krebs
Hans Adolf Krebs.jpg
Born (1900-08-25)25 August 1900
Hildesheim, Germany
Died 22 November 1981(1981-11-22) (aged 81)
Oxford, England
Nationality Germany
Fields Internal medicine, biochemistry
Institutions Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology
University of Hamburg
Cambridge University
University of Sheffield
University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Göttingen
University of Freiburg
University of Berlin
University of Hamburg
Known for Discovery of the urea cycle and the citric acid cycle
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1953)
Royal Medal (1954)
Copley Medal (1961)
Spouse Margaret Cicely Fieldhouse (m. 1938; 3 children)

Sir Hans Adolf Krebs (25 August 1900 – 22 November 1981)[1][2][3][4][5] was a German-born British physician and biochemist.[6] Krebs is best known for his identification of two important metabolic cycles: the urea cycle and the citric acid cycle. The latter, the key sequence of metabolic chemical reactions that produces energy in cells, is also known as the Krebs cycle and earned him a Nobel Prize in 1953, which he shared with Fritz Lipmann.

Early years[edit]

Krebs was born in Hildesheim, Germany, to Georg Krebs, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon, and Alma Krebs (née Davidson). He attended the famous old Gymnasium Andreanum in his home town and studied medicine at the University of Göttingen and at the University of Freiburg from 1918–1923. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg in 1925, then studied chemistry in Berlin for one year, where he later became an assistant of Otto Warburg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology until 1930.


Krebs joined the German army in 1932 and was assigned to the 13th Mechanized Infantry Division (until the Nazi party came to power in Germany, Jews were welcome in the German army). Krebs returned to clinical medicine at the municipal hospital of Altona and then at the medical clinic of the University of Freiburg where he conducted research and discovered the urea cycle. Because he was Jewish he was barred from practicing medicine in Germany and emigrated to England in 1933. He was invited to Cambridge where he worked in the biochemistry department under Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1861–1947). Krebs moved to the University of Sheffield in 1935 and became professor of biochemistry there in 1945. Krebs's area of interest was intermediary metabolism. He identified the urea cycle in 1932 and the citric acid cycle in 1937 at the University of Sheffield. He moved to Oxford as Professor of Biochemistry in 1954 and after his retirement continued work at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford until his death. He was a fellow of Trinity College. His son John Krebs, now Baron Krebs, has become a renowned zoologist in his own right and is now principal of Jesus College, Oxford. In 1953 Hans Krebs received the Nobel Prize in Physiology for his "discovery of the citric acid cycle." He was knighted in 1958 and was elected Honorary Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University in 1979.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kornberg, H.; Williamson, D. H. (1984). "Hans Adolf Krebs. 25 August 1900-22 November 1981". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 30: 350. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1984.0013.  edit
  2. ^ Weber, G. (2001). "Sir Hans A. Krebs Centenary Lecture: Cancer and clinical targeting". Advances in Enzyme Regulation 41: 1–29. doi:10.1016/S0065-2571(00)00026-1. PMID 11417529.  edit
  3. ^ Stubbs, M.; Gibbons, G. (2000). "Hans Adolf Krebs (1900-1981)...His Life and Times". IUBMB Life (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Life) 50 (3): 163. doi:10.1080/152165400300001462.  edit
  4. ^ Raju, T. N. (1999). "The Nobel Chronicles". The Lancet 353 (9164): 1628–1628. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)75758-5.  edit
  5. ^ Sri Kantha, S. (1991). "The question of nepotism in the award of Nobel prizes: A critique of the view of Hans Krebs". Medical hypotheses 34 (1): 28–32. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(91)90061-3. PMID 2056924.  edit
  6. ^ http://www.britannica.com/nobelprize/article-9046221?tocId=9046221


  • Medawar, Jean: Pyke, David (2012). Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled by the Nazi Regime (Paperback). New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61145-709-4. 

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