Casimir Funk


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Funk, Casimir

(kăz`ĭmēr fo͝ongk), 1884–1967, American biochemist, b. Poland, Ph.D. Univ. of Bern, 1904. He first came to the United States in 1915 and was naturalized in 1920. Credited with the discovery of vitamins, Funk stirred public interest with his paper (1912) on vitamin-deficiency diseases. He coined the term vitamine and later postulated the existence of four such materials (B1, B2, C, D), which he stated were necessary for normal health and for the prevention of deficiency diseases. Funk contributed to knowledge of the hormones of the pituitary gland and the sex glands and emphasized the importance of the balance between hormones and vitamins. He is the author of Vitamines (tr. 1922).

Bibliography

See biography by B. Harrow (1955).

Funk, Casimir

 

Born Feb. 23, 1884, in Warsaw; died Nov. 20, 1967, in New York. Polish biochemist.

After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Bern in 1904, Funk engaged in research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris; he remained at the institute until 1906. He was on the research staff of the University of Berlin in 1906 and 1907 and from 1909 to 1911 and of the Lister Institute in London in 1911 and 1912. Funk was subsequently employed by private companies in the USA. In 1923 he became head of the biochemical department of the Warsaw School of Hygiene under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1936 he became a consultant to the US Vitamin Corporation in New York. In 1953 he became president of the Funk Foundation for Medical Research.

Funk’s principal works deal with the biochemistry of nutrition, vitaminology, and the chemistry of hormones. In 1912 he isolated thiamine and coined the term “vitamine.”

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Vitaminy, 3rd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.

A. N. SHAMIN

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