Dische, Zacharias

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DISCHE, ZACHARIAS (1895–1988), U.S. biochemist. Dische was born in Sambor (then Austria-Hungary, today Poland), the nephew of Leon *Reich. World War i broke out while Dische was studying at the University of Lvov and, after completing the first year of his medical studies, he was drafted into the Austrian army. He completed his medical degree in 1921 at the University of Vienna, where he became head of the chemistry laboratory of the physiological institute in 1931. Dische continued his research there until the Anschluss in 1938, when he was forced to flee Austria, first for Paris and later for the Medical School of Marseille. He reached America in 1941 and was appointed to the faculty at Columbia University in New York in 1947, becoming professor of biochemistry in 1957 and professor emeritus in 1963.

Dische discovered the basic reaction of the pentose phosphate cycle, the first example of feedback inhibition of a metabolic process. His contributions to scientific journals cover the biochemistry of sugars, the quantitative analysis of dna sugars, polysaccharides in animal tissues, the cellular metabolism of blood and ocular tissues, and other biochemical topics. His analysis of the lens capsule was a model for basement membrane investigations in general. In 1965 he was awarded the Proctor Medal, the highest award in basic science in ophthalmology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1976.


Editorial, in: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (July 1988).

[Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)]