Michael Somogyi

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Michael Somogyi
Michael Somogyi early portrait cropped 01.03.002.tif
Born(1883-03-07)March 7, 1883
Reinersdorf, Austria-Hungary
DiedJuly 21, 1971(1971-07-21) (aged 88)
Alma materUniversity of Budapest
Known forSomogyi effect

Dr. Michael Somogyi (March 7, 1883 – July 21, 1971) was a Hungarian American professor of biochemistry at the Washington University and Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, who prepared the first insulin treatment given to a child with diabetes in the USA in October 1922.[1][2] Somogyi showed that excessive insulin makes diabetes unstable in the Chronic Somogyi rebound of which he gave his name, and first published his findings in 1938.[3]


Michael Somogyi was born on March 7, 1883 in the village of Zsámánd in Hungary, Austria-Hungary (today Reinersdorf, part of Heiligenbrunn, Austria). He graduated in chemistry from the University of Budapest in 1905 and then went to the United States. At first, he had trouble finding suitable work, but eventually he obtained a position as an assistant of biochemistry at the Cornell University Medical College, NY where he was active until 1908. That year Somogyi returned to Budapest to become chief chemist at the municipal laboratory. He obtained a doctorate from the University of Budapest in 1914.

In 1922, his colleague P. A. Schaffer at Cornell University persuaded him to return to the USA to become a professor of biochemistry at the Washington University's medical school in St. Louis. The first insulin treatment of a child with diabetes in the USA in October 1922 was done with a preparation of insulin produced by Somogyi.[4] In 1926, he became first chemist at the Jewish Hospital, St. Louis. In his first year working as a clinical chemist in St. Louis, he introduced a method for determining reducing sugars in human blood. He took a special interest in diabetic patients and in 1938, at a meeting of the medical society in St. Louis to the theme of "unstable, severe diabetic patients", Somogyi first presented his theory that insulin treatment in itself might cause unstable diabetes. In 1940 he developed a method for the determination of serum amylase in healthy and diabetic individuals. He is also credited with devising a test for acute pancreatitis. Somogyi was active at the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis until his retirement in 1957.[5][6] He died from a stroke on 21 July 1971.


  1. ^ Jentile, Crysta (2010). "Taking Control". Chemical Heritage Foundation. 28 (3). Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  2. ^ Michael Somogyi (www.whonamedit.com)
  3. ^ M. Somogyi, "Insulin as a cause of extreme hyperglycemia and instability," Weekly Bulletin of the St Louis Medical Society, 1938, 32:498-510
  4. ^ Roberts, Jacob (2015). "Sickening sweet". Distillations. 1 (4): 12–15. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ Walker, Harvey (1971). "Michael Somogyi" (PDF). Clinical Chemistry. 17 (11): 1138.
  6. ^ Walker Jr, H (1972). "Michael Somogyi 1883-1971". Carbohydrate Research. 21 (3): 337–8. doi:10.1016/s0008-6215(00)84913-7. PMID 4559164.

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