Sir Bernard Katz

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Katz, Sir Bernard,

1911–2003, British biophysicist, b. Germany, M.D. Univ. of Leipzig, 1934; Ph.D. University College, London, 1938. Katz became a British subject in 1941. He was a professor at University College, London, from 1952, having taken a post as a researcher there after World War II. In 1970 Katz was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Ulf von Eulervon Euler, Ulf,
1905–83, Swedish physiologist and pharmacologist, Ph.D. Karolinska Institute, 1930. He was a professor at the Karolinska Institute from 1930 to 1971.
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 and Julius AxelrodAxelrod, Julius
, 1912–2004, American biochemist whose work was influential in the development of pharmaceuticals, b. New York City, grad. City College, N.Y. (B.S. 1933), New York Univ. (M.S. 1941), George Washington Univ. (Ph.D. 1955).
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 for elucidating the action of neurotransmittersneurotransmitter,
chemical that transmits information across the junction (synapse) that separates one nerve cell (neuron) from another nerve cell or a muscle. Neurotransmitters are stored in the nerve cell's bulbous end (axon).
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, work which helped establish the foundations of psychopharmacology. Katz's specific contribution was uncovering the mechanism by which the transmitter acetylcholineacetylcholine
, a small organic molecule liberated at nerve endings as a neurotransmitter. It is particularly important in the stimulation of muscle tissue. The transmission of an impulse to the end of the nerve causes it to release neurotransmitter molecules onto the surface of
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 is released from the nerve terminals at the nerve-muscle junction. He discovered that its release was continuous and spontaneous and that it occurred in "packets," now called vesicles, of consistently varying size. He was knighted in 1969.
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