A. Carl Leopold

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A. Carl Leopold
Aldo Carl Leopold

(1919-12-18)December 18, 1919
DiedNovember 18, 2009(2009-11-18) (aged 89)
OccupationPlant physiologist; academic

Aldo Carl Leopold (December 18, 1919 – November 18, 2009) was an American academic and plant physiologist. His father was Aldo Leopold, a noted ecologist and employee of the United States Forest Service, and his mother was Estella Leopold.

Leopold received a bachelor's degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin in 1941. He enlisted in the Marines during World War II and served in the Pacific as defense counsel in courts-martial for soldiers who were charged with being AWOL. After his discharge, Leopold received MS and PhD degrees in plant physiology from Harvard University, studying under Kenneth Thimann. He worked briefly for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, and then joined the faculty of Purdue University in 1949. In 1975, he was appointed Graduate Dean and Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Nebraska. In 1977, Leopold moved to the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI) in Ithaca, New York as William H. Crocker Scientist.[1]

Seeds such as soybeans containing very high levels of protein can undergo desiccation, yet survive and revive after water absorption. Leopold began studying this capability at BTI in the mid-1980s. He found soybeans and corn to have a range of soluble carbohydrates protecting the seed's cell viability.[2] Patents were awarded to him in the early 1990s on techniques for protecting "biological membranes" and proteins in the dry state. Using the knowledge gleaned from studying the preservation of proteins in dry soybeans, Leopold developed a method to preserve peptide hormones like insulin in the glassy state so that they can be pulverized into a powder and inhaled by diabetics as an alternative to self-injection.[3]

Leopold's research on soybeans led to techniques that allowed insulin to be dried and later processed into an inhalable insulin, named Exubera by Pfizer.[4] In 2011, it was announced that a form of inhalable insulin, aerosolized insulin, applied deep into the nostrils may delay the onset of Alzheimer.[5][6][7]

Leopold was active in science and environmental issues from his retirement in 1990 until his death in 2009.[8] Leopold, along with Ed Oyer, Thomas Eisner, Jim McConkey and Mary Woodson, was a founding member of the Preposthumous Society who together founded Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve. Leopold was the first member of the society to use it.[9]


  1. ^ http://bti.cornell.edu/index.php?page=NewsDetails&id=85 Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Blackman SA, Obendorf RL, Leopold AC (September 1992). "Maturation Proteins and Sugars in Desiccation Tolerance of Developing Soybean Seeds". Plant Physiol. 100 (1): 225–230. doi:10.1104/pp.100.1.225. PMC 1075542. PMID 16652951.
  3. ^ Ithaca journal: https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/ithacajournal/access/1762528181.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Mar+22%2C+2006&author=Andrew+Tutino&pub=The+Ithaca+Journal&edition=&startpage=A.1&desc=Cornell%27s+Leopold+sews+seeds+of+breakthrough Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  4. ^ "Pfizer's Exubera Flop". Bloomberg Business. October 18, 2007. Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Kolata, Gina (September 12, 2011). "Squirts of Insulin May Help Those With Early Alzheimer's". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "Inhaled Insulin for Alzheimer's: Some Researchers Hopeful". ABC News. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Healy, Melissa (September 13, 2011). "Insulin may slow Alzheimer's, study finds". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Mark Staves & Randy Wayne (December 3, 2009). "A. Carl Leopold". Lansing Star. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  9. ^ Lorbiecki, Marybeth (2016). A Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopold's Life and Legacy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


  • Auxins and Plant Growth (1955, 1960)
  • Plant Growth and Development (1964, 1975)

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