Severo Ochoa

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Ochoa, Severo

(sāvā`rō ōchō`ä), 1905–93, American biochemist and educator, b. Spain, M.D. Univ. of Madrid, 1929. After teaching at the universities of Madrid, Heidelberg, and Oxford, he came to the United States in 1940. In 1954 he was appointed chairman of the department of biochemistry at New York Univ. He became an American citizen in 1956. With Arthur Kornberg he received the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA), an organic compound that carries hereditary qualities in all reproduction.

Ochoa, Severo


Born Sept. 24, 1905, in Luarca, Spain. American biochemist. Member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1957).

Ochoa received the degree of doctor of medicine from the University of Madrid in 1929 and worked there from 1931 to 1935. In 1936 and 1937 he worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Heidelberg. Subsequently, he worked in Great Britain at the marine biological station in Plymouth in 1937 and at Oxford University from 1938 to 1940.

Since 1940, Ochoa has lived in the USA. He worked at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., in 1941 and 1942 and has been at the New York University School of Medicine since 1942. His principal works are on the biochemistry of nucleic acids, the enzymatic conversion of carbohydrates and fats, and the mechanism of photosynthesis. He was the first to enzymatically synthesize ribonucleic acid, and he has contributed to deciphering the genetic code. Together with A. Kornberg, Ochoa was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1959. He was elected a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1966.

Ochoa, Severo

(1905–93) molecular biologist; born in Luarca, Spain. He taught and performed research in Europe before coming to the U.S.A. to join Washington University (St. Louis) (1941–42). At New York University (NYU) (1942–74), he described the mechanism of the Krebs citric acid cycle, which generates cellular energy (1940s–1950s). In 1955 he isolated a bacterial enzyme with which he performed the first test-tube synthesis of various RNAs, enabling the eventual deciphering of the genetic code. For this he won one-half the 1959 Nobel Prize in physiology. After retiring from NYU, he moved to the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology (New Jersey) (1974–85), then returned to Spain as a professor at Universidad Autonoma, Madrid (1985).