Nobel Prize Recipient. Bernardo Alaberto-Houssay received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "his discovery of the part played by the hormone of the anterior pituitary lobe in the metabolism of sugar." His scientific discovery greatly improved the control of diabetes mellitus. He received half the monetary Nobel Prize, sharing the prize with the husband-and-wife team, Carl and Gerty Cori. Well-respected in the scientific community, he received 46 nominations for the Nobel candidacy. Through the years, he nominated a total of 20 Nobel Prize candidacies for the category of chemistry or physiology or medicine. He was the first Argentinian to receive the Nobel Prize in the sciences. Using dogs with their pancreas removed, he found removing adenohypophysis, which was the anterior, or frontal, lobe of the pituitary body, located beneath the brain, relieved the symptoms of the diabetes and made the animal unusually sensitive to insulin. By injecting pituitary extracts into normal animals, diabetes was induced by increasing the amount of sugar in the blood, indicating that the secretions of the gland oppose the action of insulin. Born the son of a French lawyer who emigrated to Argentina, he was the fourth of eight children. His father's French education was not readily accepted in Argentina, hence he taught high school. He attended private schools until he entered at the age of fourteen the School of Pharmacy at the University of Bueno Aires, graduating in 1904. Before graduating, he started his medical classes, graduating in 1911 with his M.D degree with a thesis that earned him a University honor. In 1907 he accepted an assistant teaching post in the Department of Physiology to pay for his education. Besides having a private practice, he became chief of a municipal hospital service, a full professor in the School of Veterinary Science, part-time substitute professor in physiology at the Medical School, and the post of chief of experimental pathology at the National Public Health Laboratories in Buenos Aires, studying coagulation problems related to snake bites. He held many positions at one time as the salaries offered were poor. In 1919, he became chair of physiology at the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, developing one of the world's advanced experimental laboratories. In 1945 after the Argentinean Revolution and the new government of Juan Perón, he was stripped of his university positions, and after collaborating with the Sauberan Foundation, he was forced to continue his research in a private laboratory. Although he was offered many respected professional positions in more stable political climates, he remained loyal to Argentina. In 1955, he was officially reinstated as director of the Institute of Physiology. He spent the remaining years of his career directing the Argentine National Council for Scientific and Technical Research, which he founded in 1957. He wrote over 600 scientific papers and books on several medical subjects. He co-authored the textbook " Human Physiology in Latin America," which was originally published in 1950 in Spanish but translated later into Portuguese and English, plus saw several editions. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received the Charles Mickle fellowship of Toronto in 1945, the Banting Medal of the American Diabetes Association in 1946, the Baly Medal from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1947 and the Dale Medal from the Society for Endocrinology in 1960. He was recognized with honors by twenty universities internationally. In 1943, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. Throughout his career, he was active in the medical field in South and Central America becoming one of the most prominent and influential Latin American scientists of the twentieth century. He married in 1920 Maria Angelica Catan, a chemist, and the couple had three sons, who followed their parents' footsteps and earned their own science degrees. Three days before his death, The Bernardo Alberto Houssay Foundation was created by the National Academy of Sciences of Buenos Aires.
Bio by: Linda Davis
Maria Angelica Catan Houssay
1895–1962 (m. 1920)
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