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Henrik Dam

Henrik DamAKA Carl Peter Henrik Dam

Born: 21-Feb-1895
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: Apr-1976
Location of death: Copenhagen, Denmark
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Buried, Bispebjerg Kirkegård, Copenhagen, Denmark

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: Denmark
Executive summary: Discovered Vitamin K

Danish biochemist and physiologist Henrik Dam fed a restricted diet to chickens, and noted that the animals developed a tendency to bleed easily and showed diminished blood-clotting ability. He was able to remedy the chickens' illness by feeding them pigs' liver, alfalfa, cabbage, and spinach. Dam deduced that the disease was caused by a deficiency in a previously-unknown "blood-clotting vitamin", which he named vitamin K for the German word koagulations (coagulations). In 1939 both Dam and Edward A. Doisy, an American scientist working independently, isolated vitamin K in alfalfa. For this discovery, Dam and Doisy shared the 1943 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

At the time of his breakthrough, Dam was a researcher and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. With his newfound fame in scientific circles, he came to North America on an extended speaking tour, and he was still lecturing in the U.S. and Canada when Denmark was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1940. Dr Dam took refuge and continued his work, first at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, then at the University of Rochester, and finally at Rockefeller University before the war ended. While he was in America, Dam was promoted in absentia to full Professor at the University of Copenhagen in 1941, two years before winning his Nobel honors.

Father: Emil Dam (pharmacist)
Mother: Emilie Peterson Dam (school teacher)
Wife: Inger Olsen (m. 1923)

    University: MS Chemistry, Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute (1920)
    Teacher: Chemistry, University of Copenhagen (1920-23)
    Teacher: Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen (1923-41)
    University: PhD Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen (1934)
    Scholar: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1941)
    Professor: Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen (1941-50)
    Scholar: University of Rochester (1942-45)
    Scholar: Rockefeller University (1945)
    Professor: Biochemistry and Nutrition, University of Copenhagen (1950-56)
    Administrator: Danish Fat Research Institute (1956-63)

    Royal Society of Edinburgh Honorary Fellow (1953)
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1943, with Edward A. Doisy

Author of books:
Rette Indkomstmodtager: Allokering og Fiksering (1929)


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