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James B. Sumner

From Academic Kids

James Batcheller Sumner (November 19, 1887 - August 12, 1955) was an American chemist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1946 with John Howard Northrop.

Contents

Education

Sumner graduated from Harvard College in 1910. In 1912 he went to study biochemistry in Harvard Medical School and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1914. He then worked as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Cornell Medical College.

Research

It was at Cornell where Sumner began his research into isolating enzymes in pure form which had never been achieved before. The enzyme he worked with was urease. Sumner's work was unsuccessful for many years and many of his colleagues were doubtful, believing that what he was trying to achieve was impossible but in 1926 he succeeded and discovered that even low molecular weight enzymes could be isolated and crystallized. His successful research brought him to full professorship in 1929.

Awards

In 1937, he was given a Guggenheim Fellowship and he spent five months in Sweden working with Professor Theodor Svedberg. Also that year, John Howard Northrop of the Rockefeller Institute obtained crystalline pepsin making it clear that Sumner had devised a general crystallization method for enzymes and he was awarded the Scheel Medal in Stockholm.

Both Sumner and Northrop shared the Nobel Prize in 1946 for crystallization of enzymes. Sumner was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1948. Sumner died aged 67 of cancer on August 12 1955.

External link

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