du Vigneaud, Vincent

du Vigneaud, Vincent

du Vigneaud, Vincent, 1901-78, American biochemist, b. Chicago. He was professor of biochemistry and head of the department at George Washington Univ. school of medicine (1932-38) and at Cornell Univ. medical college (from 1938). His researches involved the chemistry of insulin, protein, and sulfur compounds, and the syntheses of penicillin (1946) and the B-vitamin biotin (1942). He was awarded the 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his identification and synthesis of two pituitary hormones, oxytocin, used medicinally in obstetrics, and vasopressin, used to treat diabetes.

Vincent du Vigneaud (May 18, 1901December 11, 1978) was an American biochemist. He won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1955. For the isolation, structural identification and total synthesis of the cyclic peptide oxytocin.


Vigneaud graduated from Schurz High School in 1918. He started studying chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was influenced by lectures of Carl Shipp Marvel. After receiving his M.S. in 1924 he joined DuPont but restarted his academic career by joining the group of John R. Murlin at the University of Rochester for a Ph.D thesis in 1925. He married Zella Zon Ford June 12 1924. He graduated in 1927 with his work The Sulfur in Insulin. After several Post-doc positions with John Jacob Abel at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Max Bergmann at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research in Dresden and others he became professor at the University of Illinois He went to George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C. in 1932 and to Cornell Medical College in New York City in 1938 where he stayed until his emeritation in 1967. From 1967 on he held a position at Cornell University Ithaca, New York. In 1974 he suffered from a stroke which ended his academic career. One year after his wife's death, he passed away.


His career was characterized by an interest in sulfur, proteins, and, espicially, peptides. Even before his famous work on elucidating and synthesizing oxytocin and vasopressin, he had established a reputation for work on insulin, biotin, transmethylation, and penicillin. He also began a series of structure-activity relationships for oxytocin and vasopressin, perhaps the first for peptides.


He joined Alpha Chi Sigma while at the University of Illinois in 1930.


External links

  • http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1955/vigneaud-bio.html

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