Hans Kornberg

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Sir Hans Kornberg
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Born Hans Leo Kornberg
(1928-01-14) 14 January 1928 (age 87)
Germany
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality Germany
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions
Alma mater University of Sheffield
Notable awards

Sir Hans Leo Kornberg, FRS (born 14 January 1928) is a German-born British biochemist.[2]


Early life and education[edit]

Kornberg was born in 1928 in Germany of Jewish parents. In 1939 he left Nazi Germany (although his parents could not), and moved to the care of an uncle in Yorkshire. Initially he went to a school for German refugees, but later to a private school and Wakefield Grammar School.

On leaving school he became a junior laboratory technician for Dr Hans Krebs at the University of Sheffield who encouraged him to study further and apply for a scholarship at the same university. He graduated with a BSc Honours in Chemistry in 1949. His interest had now moved to biochemistry and he studied in the Faculty of Medicine, receiving a PhD degree in 1953 for a thesis entitled Studies on gastric urease.

Career[edit]

A Commonwealth Fund Exchange Fellowship of the Harkness Foundation enabled him to travel to the USA and work in several biochemistry laboratories. He then returned to the UK where his mentor Hans Krebs had moved to Oxford University and offered him a post there. This partnership produced a paper in Nature,[3] concerning their discovery of the Glyoxylate cycle, and also a joint book [4] which was the first major publication on biological thermodynamics.

In 1960 he was appointed to the first Chair in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester, which he held until 1975 when he was elected to the Sir William Dunn Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. In 1963 he was awarded the Colworth Medal, the first person to receive it.

From 1982 to 1995 he was Master of Christ's College, Cambridge.

In 1995 he left the Cambridge chair to take up a position as a Professor of Biology at Boston University, USA, where he teaches biochemistry. His major research area is the nature and regulation of carbohydrate transport in micro-organisms.

Honours and awards[edit]

He was elected to the Royal Society in 1965 and the same year awarded the Colworth Medal of The Biochemical Society. In 1973 he was awarded the Otto Warburg Medal of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1978 he was knighted for "services to science". He has been awarded 11 honorary doctorates and has been elected into membership of:

Personal life[edit]

While at Oxford, he also met and married his first wife, Monica King, a radiographer; she died in 1989. In 1991 he married Donna Haber. They live in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Professor Kornberg is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering.[5]

He was editor of the Sheffield University Rag Magazine Twikker in 1947.

He was President and a keen supporter of the Christ's College Boat Club while he was Master of Christ's College, Cambridge: the Boat Club has one boat Sir Hans named after him, and another Lady K after his wife.

He has four children: Julia Cork (b. 1957), Rachel Kornberg (b. 1959), Dr. Jonathan Kornberg and Simon Kornberg (b. 1960).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kornberg, H. L. (1966). "The role and control of the glyoxylate cycle in Escherichia coli". The Biochemical journal 99 (1): 1–11. PMC 1264949. PMID 5337756. 
  2. ^ Kornberg, H. L. (2003). "Memoirs of a biochemical hod carrier". Journal of Biological Chemistry 278 (12): 9993–10001. doi:10.1074/jbc.X200008200. PMID 12556462. 
  3. ^ Kornberg, H. L.; Krebs, H. A. (1957). "Synthesis of cell constituents from C2-units by a modified tricarboxylic acid cycle". Nature 179 (4568): 988–91. PMID 13430766. 
  4. ^ H. A. Krebs & H. L. Kornberg (1957) Energy Transformations in Living Matter Springer (Berlin)
  5. ^ "Advisory Council of the Campaign for Science and Engineering". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
New position
Professor of Biochemistry, University of Leicester
1960 - 1975
Succeeded by
Bill Brammar
Preceded by
Frank George Young
Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry, Cambridge University
1975 - 1995
Succeeded by
Tom Blundell
Preceded by
Jack Plumb
Master of Christ's College, Cambridge
1982 - 1995
Succeeded by
Alan Munro