Kornberg, Sir Hans Leo

views updated


KORNBERG, SIR HANS LEO (1928– ), U.K. biochemist. Kornberg was born in Herford, Germany, and came to England as a refugee from the Nazis (1939). Encouraged by Hans Krebs, after working initially as a laboratory assistant, he gained his B.Sc. (1949) and Ph.D. (1953) from the University of Sheffield before joining Efraim Racker at Yale University and at the Public Health Institute, New York, as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow (1953–55). He returned to the U.K. to join the scientific staff of Sir Hans Krebs' Medical Research Council Cell Metabolism Research Unit at Oxford University (1955–60). He was appointed the first professor and head of the University of Leicester's new biochemistry department (1960–75) before becoming Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry (1975–95) and Master of Christ's College (1982–95) at the University of Cambridge. After statutory retirement, he took up an appointment as professor of biology at Boston University. Kornberg's research focuses on microbial metabolism, mainly on elucidating the "anaplerotic" pathways that enable single cell organisms to derive both energy and the precursors of cell constituents from defined nutrients. Later his research concerned identifying the proteins which span the cell membrane and enable nutrients to be taken up by the cell. His findings have helped to understand how cells respond to chemical signals and have important implications for understanding the regulation of vital processes in health and disease. His honors include election to the Royal Society of London (1965) and to numerous worldwide scientific academies and societies, and a knighthood (1978).

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

About this article

Kornberg, Sir Hans Leo

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article