John Howard Northrop
|John Howard Northrop|
July 5, 1891|
Yonkers, New York, USA
|Died||May 27, 1987
Wickenburg, Arizona, USA
|Institutions||University of California, Berkeley
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Doctoral advisor||Jacques Loeb|
|Known for||Studies of enzymes|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1946)
Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal (1939)
John Howard Northrop (July 5, 1891 – May 27, 1987) was an American biochemist who won, with James Batcheller Sumner and Wendell Meredith Stanley, the 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The award was given for these scientists' isolation, crystallization, and study of enzymes, proteins, and viruses. Northrop was a Professor of Bacteriology and Medical Physics, Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley.
Early years 
Northrop was born in Yonkers, New York to John I., a zoologist and instructor at Columbia University, and Alice R. Northrop, a teacher of botany at Hunter College. His father died in a lab explosion two weeks before John H. Northrop was born. The son was educated at Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in chemistry in 1915. During World War I, he conducted research for the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service on the production of acetone and ethanol through fermentation. This work led to studying enzymes.
In 1929, Northrop isolated and crystallized the gastric enzyme pepsin and determined that it was a protein. In 1938 he isolated and crystallized the first bacteriophage (a small virus that attacks bacteria), and determined that it was a nucleoprotein. Northrop also isolated and crystallized pepsinogen (the precursor to pepsin), trypsin, chymotrypsin, and carboxypeptidase.
For his 1939 book, Crystalline Enzymes: The Chemistry of Pepsin, Trypsin, and Bacteriophage, Northrop was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1949. Northrop was employed by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City from 1916 until his retirement in 1961. In 1949 he was appointed Professor of Bacteriology, University of California, Berkeley and later, Professor of Biophysics.
Personal life 
In 1917, Northrop married Louise Walker, with whom he had two children: John, an oceanographer, and Alice, who married Nobel laureate Frederick C. Robbins. Northrop committed suicide in Wickenberg, Arizona in 1987.
- "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1946 - Preparing Pure Proteins". Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- Northrop, J. H. (1929), "Crystalline Pepsin", Science 69 (1796): 580, Bibcode:1929Sci....69..580N, doi:10.1126/science.69.1796.580, PMID 17758437
- "Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter N". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- See p. 440 of Herriott, R. M. (1994), "John Howard Northrop: July 5, 1891-May 27, 1987", Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) 63: 423–50
Further reading 
- Economos, A. C.; Lints, F. A. (1985), "Growth rate and life span in Drosophila V. The effect of prolongation of the period of growth on the total duration of life (J.H. Northrop, 1917)--revisited", Mech. Ageing Dev. (1985 Dec) 33 (1): 103–13, doi:10.1016/0047-6374(85)90112-5, PMID 3908838
- Herriott, R. M. (1981), "John Howard Northrop", J. Gen. Physiol. (1981 Jun) 77 (6): 597–9, doi:10.1085/jgp.77.6.597, PMC 2215443, PMID 7021760
- Herriott, R. M. (1994), "John Howard Northrop: July 5, 1891-May 27, 1987", Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) 63: 423–50, PMID 11615389
- See also this version of Northrop's National Academy of Science biography.
- Northrop, J. H. (1939), Crystalline Enzymes, Columbia University Press
- Shampo, M A; Kyle, R. A. (2000), "John Northrop--definitive study of enzymes", Mayo Clin. Proc. (2000 March) 75 (3): 254, PMID 10725951
- van Helvoort, T. (1992), "The controversy between John H. Northrop and Max Delbrück on the formation of bacteriophage: bacterial synthesis or autonomous multiplication?", Annals of Science (1992 November) 49 (6): 545–75, doi:10.1080/00033799200200451, PMID 11616207
- Northrop's Nobel Foundation biography
- Northrop's Nobel Lecture The Preparation of Pure Enzymes and Virus Proteins