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Konrad Bloch (January 21, 1912 – October 15, 2000)

Konrad E. Bloch a German-born American biochemist, who received the 1964 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Feodor Lynen for their discoveries concerning the metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids.

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In 1938 he obtained his doctorate At Columbia University and became a research associate of Rudolf Schoenheimer in the isotopic analysis of cell metabolism. In 1954 Bloch became Professor of biochemistry at Harvard, continuing his research on lipids, especially the unsaturated fatty acid components.

In 1942 Bloch and David Rittenberg discovered acetic acid, a major building block in the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Bloch studied every carbon of cholesterol and every step involved in its synthesis, which led to the discovery that all natural steroid-related substances in humans are derived from cholesterol. Discoveries of Bloch and his collaborators facilitated further research in understanding physiology, atherosclerosis, chemistry of terpenes, rubber, and other isoprene derivatives. Later he studied the metabolism of olefinic fatty acids, and investigated glutathione. After retirement at Harvard, he served as the Mack and Effie Campbell Tyner Eminent Scholar Chair in the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University.

Bloch was named professor emeritus (1982), became a Fellow of the Royal Society (1985), awarded with the National Medal of Science (1988). Konrad Bloch died of congestive heart failure, in Lexington, Massachusetts (in 2000). He wrote several books, including Blondes in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, and Other Essays in Biochemistry (1994).

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