Emmy Klieneberger-Nobel

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Emmy Klieneberger-Nobel (25 February 1892 – 11 September 1985)[1][2] was a German Jewish microbiologist. After having been expelled from Germany by the Nazis she moved to London, England.

Education and early career[edit]

She attended the University of Göttingen where she studied several sciences. She then obtained her doctorate in botany under Professor Martin Möbius at the University of Frankfurt. She then became a teacher in a private school in Dresden.[1]

She received a fellowship from the American Association of University Women in 1934 after being dismissed from her position in Germany and used the funds to continue her career in England at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London.

Career in England[edit]

She pioneered the study of mycoplasma.[3] In 1935, she discovered and cultured unusual strains of bacteria that lacked a cell wall, naming these strains "L-form bacteria" after the Lister Institute where she was working at the time.[4]

In 1943 she met the pediatrician Professor Edmund Nobel. Also Jewish, he had been born in Hungary and graduated in 1910 from the University of Vienna. When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938 he was Chief Physician at the Mautner Makhof Children's Hospital in Vienna. He was expelled from his post and eventually came to England. He held positions at Queen Mary's Hospital, for children in Carshalton and later physician at Paddington Green Children's Hospital. Emmy and he were mutually attracted and later married on 28 January 1944 with an informal lunch attended by Professor Albert Neuberger, also a refugee from Germany. Her husband, Edmund, died in 1946 from a heart complaint.[5]

She is honored by the International Organization for Mycoplasmology by the Emmy Klieneberger-Nobel Award, given every other year to an outstanding mycoplasma researcher.[6]

On her 75th birthday in 1967 she was made an honorary member of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and in 1976 she became the first honorary life member of the then newly constituted International Organization for Mycoplasmology (IOM), and in 1980 the biennial “Emmy Klieneberger-Nobel Award” for outstanding achievement in research in the field of mycoplasmology was instituted. The final and highest honour was the Robert Koch Medal, bestowed on her by the President of the then Federal Republic of Germany, Karl Carstens, in Bonn in 1980.[1]

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