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Frederick Sanger

Frederick SangerBorn: 13-Aug-1918
Birthplace: Rendcombe, Gloucestershire, England
Died: 19-Nov-2013
Location of death: Cambridge, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Quaker
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist, Biologist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Two-time Nobel laureate in chemistry

Biochemist Frederick Sanger detailed the molecular structure of insulin in 1955, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1958. Unraveling insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose and other nutrients, was the culmination of ten years of study requiring his development of new methodology for ascertaining the make-up of amino acids and proteins, and allowed the affordable synthetic production of insulin. In 1964 he discovered formylmethionine tRNA (transfer ribonucleic acid), which triggers the synthesis of protein in bacteria. In 1967 he analyzed the nucleotide sequence of RNA from the bacterium E. coli.

In 1977, Sanger's team at Cambridge completed the first analysis of the complete base sequence of genetic material in a virus, including the first discovery of a gene nestled inside another gene. Again, to accomplish this he had developed a new system of sequencing, called the "dideoxy" method, which has proven invaluable in research into recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). He won a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1980, and is the only two-time Nobel laureate in Chemistry.

Raised a Quaker, he was always opposed to war, and he was a conscientious objector during World War II. In 2003 he joined an array of British Nobel laureates who signed a petition condemning the 2003 American and British attack on Iraq. He retired in 1983, and spent his last decades tending the garden at his home. He died in 2013.

Father: Frederick Sanger (physician)
Mother: Cicely Sanger
Brother: Theodore
Wife: Margaret Joan Howe (m. 1940, two sons, one daughter)
Son: Robin (b. 1943)
Son: Peter (b. 1946)
Daughter: Sally Joan (b. 1960)

    High School: Bryanston School, Blandford, Dorset, England
    University: BA Natural Science, St. John's College, Cambridge University (1939)
    University: PhD Biochemistry, Cambridge University (1943)
    Fellow: Medical Research, Cambridge University (1944-51)
    Scholar: Medical Research Council, Cambridge University (1951-83)
    Fellow: King's College, Cambridge University (1954-83)

    RSC Corday-Morgan Prize 1951
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1958
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1980 (with Paul Berg and Walter Gilbert)
    Royal Medal 1969
    Copley Medal 1977
    Lasker Award 1979
    Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize 1979
    Order of Merit 1986
    Commander of the British Empire 1963
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Foreign Member
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Foreign Member
    Japanese Biochemical Society Foreign Member
    Royal Society 1954
    Conscientious objector (World War II)

Author of books:
Selected Papers of Frederick Sanger (1996, non-fiction)


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