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Katz, Sir Bernard

Sir Bernard Katz, 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 Euler and Julius Axelrod for elucidating the action of neurotransmitters, work which helped establish the foundations of psychopharmacology. Katz's specific contribution was uncovering the mechanism by which the transmitter acetylcholine 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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Katz, Sir Bernard

Katz, Sir Bernard (1911–2003) British biophysicist, b. Germany. He shared the 1970 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for work on the chemistry of nerve transmission. He discovered how the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released by neural impulses, causing muscles to contract.

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Katz, Sir Bernard

KATZ, SIR BERNARD

KATZ, SIR BERNARD (1911–2003), British physiologist and Nobel Prize laureate. Katz was born in Leipzig, Germany. He studied medicine at the University of Leipzig, 1929–34; he received the Siegfried Garten Prize for physiological research in 1933 and obtained his M.D. in 1934. He left Germany in 1935 and finished his education in London, where he settled. He received a Ph.D. from London University in 1938 and in 1942, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science. In 1939 Katz joined J.C. Eccles' laboratory at Sydney Hospital, Australia, as a Carnegie Research Fellow. He collaborated with J.C. Eccles and S.W. Kuffler in neuromuscular research. In 1942, after naturalization in 1941, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force, and served as a radar officer in the Southwest Pacific until the end of the war. In 1946, he returned from Australia to University College, London. In 1952 he became professor and head of the biophysics department at University College, a position he held until his death. He received many awards and was made a fellow of the Royal Society of which, in 1965, he was elected vice president, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1969. He was knighted in 1969. He was a member of the Agricultural Research Council from 1967 and the Biological Secretary of the Royal Society from 1968. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine. Katz demonstrated the relationship between neural transmission and acetylcholine release in quantitative terms, and clarified the action of calcium in the propagation of the nerve impulse. His main research was in the field of the nature of both the nerve impulse and nerve-muscle connections. He wrote Electric Excitation of Nerve (1939) and Nerve, Muscle, and Synapse (1966).

bibliography:

Lex pris Nobel/Nobel Lectures.

[George H. Fried /

Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)]

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