Herbert Gutfreund

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Herbert Gutfreund
Born(1921-10-21)21 October 1921
Vienna, Austria
Died21 March 2021(2021-03-21) (aged 99)
NationalityBritish of Austrian origin
EducationFitzwilliam College, Cambridge (Ph.D. 1947)
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society
Scientific career
FieldsProteolyic enzymes, fast reaction kinetics
InstitutionsNational Institute for Research in Dairying, Shinfield, Berkshire; University of Bristol

Herbert Gutfreund FRS (21 October 1921 – 21 March 2021), better known as Freddie Gutfreund, was a British biochemist of Austrian origin, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol.[1] Gutfreund died in March 2021 at the age of 99.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gutfreund was born on 21 October 1921 in Vienna to a middle-class professional family, the son of Clara (Pisko) and Paul Gutfreund.[3] His father was a civil engineer, and on his mother's side there were several scientists including the physicist Karl Weissenberg.[4] He had all his early education in Vienna.[5] However, the political turmoil of the 1930s forced him to leave Austria for England after the Anschluss of 1938. He joined an agricultural training scheme and became an accomplished dairyman. His interest in physiology was stimulated by reading Principles of General Physiology[6] by William Bayliss and he was much influenced by it. He earned his doctorate at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1947.


After several years at the National Institute for Research in Dairying in Shinfield, Berkshire, Gutfreund spent most of his career at the University of Bristol, where he worked on proteolytic enzymes, including chymotrypsin and trypsin,[7] and was especially active in using methods of studying fast reactions to study enzyme mechanisms. In this connection he developed and improved apparatus for that purpose.[8] Although in his first book[9] he had suggested that metabolite channelling (direct transfer of intermediates between enzymes) might occur, in his later years he became hostile to this notion, particularly in relation to glycolysis.[10]


Gutfreund is also known for his textbooks on various aspects of enzyme catalysis:

  • An Introduction to the Study of Enzymes.[9]
  • Enzymes: Physical Principles.[11]
  • Biochemical Evolution.[12]
  • Biothermodynamics: The Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium.[13] with John Edsall
  • Kinetics for the Life Sciences: Receptors, Transmitters and Catalysts.[14]


He was elected to the Royal Society in 1981.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Nobel Prizes and Fellowships - About the University". Bris.ac.uk. University of Bristol. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  2. ^ Births, marriages and deaths, March 27, 2021 – Gutfreund Professor Herbert (Freddie) Gutfreund FRS
  3. ^ The International Who's Who: 1992-93. 1992. ISBN 9780946653843.
  4. ^ Gutfreund, H. I was lucky, I was there at the right time. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 61, 1–3 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-003-3378-z
  5. ^ Gutfreund, Herbert (2007). "How I Became a Biochemist: An Honorary One!". IUBMB Life. 59 (11): 734–737. doi:10.1080/15216540701551775. PMID 17852567. S2CID 27847114.
  6. ^ Bayliss, William Maddock (1918). Principles of general physiology. London: Longmans Green & Co.
  7. ^ Gutfreund, H.; Sturtevant, J. M. (1956). "The Mechanism of Chymotrypsin-Catalyzed Reactions". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 42 (10): 719–728. Bibcode:1956PNAS...42..719G. doi:10.1073/pnas.42.10.719. PMC 528322. PMID 16589938.
  8. ^ Gutfreund H (1999). "Rapid-flow techniques and their contributions to enzymology". Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 24: 458–460.
  9. ^ a b Gutfreund, Herbert (1965). An Introduction to the Study of Enzymes. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
  10. ^ Gutfreund H, Chock PB (1991). "Substrate channelling among glycolytic enzymes: fact or fiction". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 152 (1): 117–121. Bibcode:1991JThBi.152..117G. doi:10.1016/S0022-5193(05)80524-7. PMID 1753754.
  11. ^ Gutfreund, Herbert (1972). Enzymes: Physical Principles. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0471337153.
  12. ^ Gutfreund H, ed. (1981). Biochemical Evolution. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521280257.
  13. ^ Edsall, John; Gutfreund, Herbert (1983). Biothermodynamics: The Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0471102571.
  14. ^ Gutfreund, Herbert (1995). Kinetics for the Life Sciences: Receptors, Transmitters and Catalysts. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521480272.
  15. ^ Trentham, David R.; Geeves, Michael A. (2022). "Herbert (Freddie) Gutfreund. 21 October 1921—21 March 2021". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 74.
  16. ^ "Herbert Gutfreund". Royal Society. Retrieved 22 January 2022.

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