Hans Tuppy

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Hans Tuppy
Hans Tuppy
Born (1924-07-22) July 22, 1924 (age 93)
Nationality Austrian
Fields Biochemistry, Protein structure
Institutions Cambridge University, University of Vienna
Alma mater University of Vienna
Doctoral advisor Ernst Späth, Friedrich Galinovsky
Known for Insulin sequencing
Influences Ernst Späth, Max Perutz, Frederick Sanger
Notable awards Schrödinger Prize
Wilhelm Exner Medal (1978).[1]

Hans Tuppy is a biochemist who participated in the sequencing of insulin, and became Austria's first university professor for biochemistry. He was Austrian Minister for Science and Research from 1987−1989.

Family background and youth[edit]

Hans Tuppy's parents were from the present day Czech Republic, his mother Emma from Prague and his father Karl from Brünn. Karl Tuppy (Jan. 1, 1880 - Nov. 15, 1939) was chief prosecutor in the trial against those members of the illegal Austrian Nazi party who had murdered chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss during the abortive 1934 July Putsch. After Austria's Anschluss Karl Tuppy was detained and eventually moved to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was so savagely beaten upon his arrival that he died the following night.[2] While Hans Tuppy's older brother Peter was killed in action as a Wehrmacht soldier in 1944, Hans (who completed secondary school in 1942) was ordered into the Reichsarbeitsdienst but was soon released from duty after suffering a severe injury.


Tuppy's early release from RAD service enabled him to commence studies at the University of Vienna even before World War II had ended in Austria, and to complete the requirements for his diploma in 1945. His doctoral work was initiated in the laboratory of Professor Ernst Späth. Following Späth’s death in 1946, Tuppy worked under the supervision of Friedrich Galinovsky and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1948.

Shortly thereafter Professor Frederick Wessely, Director of the Chemistry Institute recommended Tuppy to Max Perutz for postdoctoral work at Cambridge University. Perutz, in turn, recommended Tuppy to Frederick Sanger. Thus Tuppy joined Sanger’s laboratory at Cambridge where he worked on the amino acid sequence of bovine insulin, sequencing its beta chain. (Sanger was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958 for sequencing insulin.)

Tuppy's next career step was the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, from where he returned to the University of Vienna in 1951 to become an assistant at the Institute for Chemistry II. In 1956 he completed the Habilitation, the highest academic qualification in the Austrian academic system which qualifies the recipient to supervise doctoral students and, ultimately, to hold senior faculty positions. In 1963, Tuppy became Professor of Biochemistry in the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Vienna. In 1973, he received the Schrödinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

During his distinguished career Professor Tuppy has been President of the Austrian Science Fund (1974-1982), Rector of the University of Vienna (1983-1985), President of the Austria Academy of Sciences (1985-1987) and the Austrian Government Minister for Science and Research (1987-1989) during the chancellorship of Franz Vranitzky. He is Chair of the University board of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (2003–present).

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Editor, ÖGV. (2015). Wilhelm Exner Medal. Austrian Trade Association. ÖGV. Austria.
  2. ^ Wantoch, E.: Tuppys Ermordung. Eine Rekonstruktion. Teil II: Die Tat. profil No. 28, July 13, 1987, p. 46-51 (An eyewitness account of Karl Tuppy's murder)
  3. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 426. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 

External links[edit]