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John Howard Northrop

John Howard Northrop
BornJune 5 1891(1891-06-05)
Yonkers, United States
DiedMay 27 1987 (aged 95)
Wickenburg, Arizona, United States
InstitutionsColumbia University
Academic advisor  Jacques Loeb
Notable prizes Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1946)

John Howard Northrop (July 5 1891 – May 27 1987) was an American biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1946 (with James Batcheller Sumner and Wendell Meredith Stanley) for purifying and crystallizing certain enzymes.

Early Life

Northrop was born in Yonkers, New York. His father, a trained zoologist, died in a lab explosion two weeks before John was born. He was educated at Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in chemistry in 1915. During World War I, he conducted research for the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service on the production of acetone and ethanol through fermentation. This work led to studying enzymes.


In 1929, he isolated and crystallized the gastric enzyme pepsin and determined that it was a protein and in 1938 he isolated and crystallized the first bacteriophage (a small virus that attacks bacteria), and determined that it was a nucleoprotein. Northrop also isolated and crystallized pepsinogen (the precursor to pepsin), trypsin, chymotrypsin, and carboxypeptidase.

His 1939 book, Crystalline Enzymes, was an important text. Northrop was employed by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City from 1916 to 1961, at which time he retired. Northrop died in Wickenburg, Arizona.

His daughter Alice married Frederick C. Robbins, who was awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954.

Later Life

John Howard Northrop committed suicide May 27 1987.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John_Howard_Northrop". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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