(born Sept. 24, 1905, Luarca, Spain—died Nov. 1, 1993, Madrid) Spanish-born U.S. molecular biologist. He received his M.D. and subsequently studied in Germany and Britain before immigrating to the U.S. in 1941, where he taught principally at New York University. In 1955, while researching high-energy phosphates, he discovered an enzyme in bacteria that enabled him to synthesize RNA. The enzyme normally breaks down RNA, but in a test tube it runs its natural reaction in reverse. It has been valuable in enabling scientists to understand and recreate the process whereby the hereditary information contained in genes is translated into enzymes that determine each cell's functions and character. With Arthur Kornberg he received a 1959 Nobel Prize.
Learn more about Ochoa, Severo with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Ochoa was originally a given name in medieval Spain. It originated in the Basque Country and meant the wolf (in Standard Basque, otsoa). There was also a female given name Ochanda. The Spanish version of this Basque given name was Lope.
From the Basque Country it spread to the rest of Spain, Portugal and then to the Americas. In modern Basque the surname is spelled as Otxoa. About a 25% of the Spanish Ochoa's still live in the Basque area of Spain (Basque Country and Navarre).
The name may refer to: