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Pehr Victor Edman
Additional recommended knowledge
Edman was born in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1935 he started studying medicine at Karolinska Institutet, where he became interested in basic research. After graduation he stayed at Karolinska Institutet, where he was working towards his doctoral degree with Professor Eric Jorpes. His research was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, where he was drafted to serve in the Swedish army. After the war, he was promoted to work on the purification and characterization of Angiotensin from bovine blood.
Developing the Edman Degradation
At the time Edman started working on Angiotensin, it was just being recognized that proteins are distinct entities with a defined molecular mass, electric charge and structure. This inspired Edman to develop a method, that could be used to determine the sequence of amino acids in the protein. In 1947 he was awarded a travel stipend to go to Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research at Princeton University. When he returned to Sweden in 1950 to be an Assistant Professor at the University of Lund. In 1950 he published his first paper using the method later known as Edman degradation, to determine the sequence of a protein. To his death he continued to work to improve the method to be able to determine longer stretches with smaller amounts of sample.
In 1957 he moved to Australia to be the director of St. Vincent's School of Medical Research. In 1967 he successfully developed an automated protein sequencer, called the sequenator, with his assistant Geoffrey Begg.
In 1972 he moved to the Max-Planck-Institut of Biochemistry, Martinsried near Munich. He worked with his second wife, Agnes Henschen, and she used Edman's method to sequence fibrinogen.
In 1977 Edman died of a brain tumor after a short coma.
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- Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Australian Academy of Science Biographical memoirs
- Appreciation by B. Blombäck