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  • Date :
  • 8/22/2004

Hans Adolf Krebs

(August 25, 1900 - November 22, 1981)

Sir Hans Adolf Krebs was born at Hildesheim, Germany. He is the son of Georg Krebs, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat surgeon of that city, and his wife Alma,née Davidson.
Krebs was educated at the Gymnasium Andreanum at Hildesheim and between the years 1918 and 1923 he studied medicine at the Universities of Göttingen, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, andBerlin. After one year at the Third Medical Clinic of theUniversity of Berlin he took, in 1925, his M.D. degree at theUniversity ofHamburg and then spent one year studying chemistry atBerlin. In 1926 he was appointed Assistant to Professor Otto Warburg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology at Berlin-Dahlem, where he remained until 1930.
In I930, he returned to hospital work, first at the Municipal Hospital at Altona under Professor L. Lichtwitz and later at the Medical Clinic of the University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau under Professor S. J. Thannhauser.
In June 1933, the National Socialist Government terminated his appointment and he went, at the invitation of Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, to the School of Biochemistry, Cambridge, where he held a Rockefeller Studentship until 1934, when he was appointed Demonstrator of Biochemistry in theUniversity ofCambridge.
In 1935, he was appointed Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Sheffield, and in 1938 Lecturer-in-Charge of the Department of Biochemistry then newly founded there.
In 1945 this appointment was raised to that of Professor, and of Director of a Medical Research Council's research unit established in his Department. In 1954 he was appointed Whitley Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Oxford and the Medical Research Council's Unit for Research in Cell Metabolism was transferred to Oxford.
Professor Krebs' researches have been mainly concerned with various aspects of intermediary metabolism. Among the subjects he has studied are the synthesis of urea in the mammalian liver, the synthesis of uric acid and purine bases in birds, the intermediary stages of the oxidation of foodstuffs, the mechanism of the active transport of electrolytes and the relations between cell respiration and the generation of adenosine polyphosphates.
Among his many publications is the remarkable survey of energy transformations in living matter, published in 1957, in collaboration with H. L. Kornberg, which discusses the complex chemical processes which provide living organisms with high-energy phosphate by way of what is known as the Krebs or citric acid cycle.
Krebs was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1947. In 1954 the Royal Medal of the Royal Society, and in 1958 the Gold Medal of the Netherlands Society for Physics, Medical Science and Surgery were conferred upon him. He was knighted in 1958. He holds honorary degrees of the Universities of Chicago, Freiburg-im-Breisgau,Paris, Glasgow, London, Sheffield, Leicester, Berlin (Humboldt University).

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