Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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Northrop shared the 1946 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for helping to develop the technique for purifying and crystallising enzymes and virus proteins. His work showed that enzymes obey the laws of chemical reactions and that they are proteins. In 1930 he crystallised pepsin, an enzyme present in gastric juice necessary for digestion. Eight years later he isolated the first bacterial virus (bacteriophage). This he proved to be a nucleoprotein. Other enzymes that he managed to isolate and crystalise were trypsin and chymotrypsin, both important to the digestive process.1891-07-05T00:00:00+0000Banting was a Canadian physician who helped discover and isolate insulin. He also pioneered the extraction of insulin from pigs and cattle and demonstrated its use to treat diabetes in dogs. In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work. 1891-11-14T00:00:00+0000The Institute was founded to honour the memory of the physician Caspar Wistar and preserve his collection of anatomical models as teaching aids and to further medical knowledge. It was founded by Caspar's great nephew, Isaac Wistar, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and former Civil War Brigadier General. 1892-01-01T00:00:00+0000Heymans was a physiopharmacologsit. By experimenting on dogs, he demonstrated how the body measures the content of oxygen in the blood and blood pressure and transmits this to the brain. In 1938 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how respiration is regulated by pressure sensory organs associated with the cartoid artery and aortic arch. 1892-03-28T00:00:00+0000Moore was the first to isolate male sex hormones andresterone and testosterone1892-12-05T00:00:00+0000Cohn developed a fractionation technique to separate blood into its components, paving the way to safer blood transfusion. 1892-12-17T00:00:00+0000Based on the observation that some tumours shrink in patients with a bacterial skin infection, the surgeon William Coley treated a 21 year old man with inoperable sarcoma with mixture containing heat-treated bacteria. The man went into complete remision. W. Coley, 'The Treatment of Malignant Tumors By Repeated Inoculations of Erysipelas: With A Report of Ten Original Cases', The American Journal of Medical Sciences, 105 (1893): 487-511. 1893-05-01T00:00:00+0000Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for his work on the biochemistry of respiration and his discovery of vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle.1893-09-16T00:00:00+0000Doisy was an American biochemist who helped discover the chemistry of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used in surgery and medicine to promote blood clotting. He also isolated the sex hormones estrone, estriol, and estradiol.1893-11-13T00:00:00+00001894-01-01T00:00:00+0000Brown-Sequard was a Mauritian physiologist and neurologist. He is best known for his discovery of the physiology of the spinal cord and the need for the adrenal gland. In addition, he predicted the existence of hormones. He sparked controversy after claiming to have rejuvenated his sexual prowess by injecting himself with extracts of monkey testis. His response to the extracts is now considered to have been placebo but his experiment helped found endocrinology as a discipline. 1894-04-02T00:00:00+0000Jules Bordet, a Belgian immunologist and microbiologist, on the basis of experiments heating fresh serum containing antibacterial antibodies, detects the presence of a substance, initially called alexin or complement which appears to act as an accessory to antibodies, taking on the role of destroying antigens.1895-01-01T00:00:00+0000Antiserum preparted against human oesteogenic sarcoma in an ass and 2 dogs. Reported successful in treating 50 patients suffering from cancer of the stomach and chest wall. J Hericourt, C Richet, 'Traitement d'un cas de sarcome par la sarcome par la serotherapie', Seances Acad Sci, 120 (1895), 948-50.1895-01-01T00:00:00+0000Dam was a biochemist and physiologist who shared the 1943 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of vitamin K, which he established was important for blood-clotting. He made the discovery based on experiments during which he noticed that chickens fed with a cholesterol-free diet developed haemorrhages and started bleeding. Unable to rectify the problem by adding cholesterol to the diet, Dam found that a second compound- vitamin K - was responsible. 1895-02-21T00:00:00+0000A German chemist, Hoppe-Seyler helped pioneer the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology. He studied fluids of the body such as blood, haemoglobin, pus, bile, milk, and urine and was the first to crystallize haemoglobin and observe its absorption spectrum.1895-08-10T00:00:00+0000A Swiss physician and biochemist. Miescher, was the first person to isolate nucleic acids which would subsequently be found to carry the genetic blueprint for life. 1895-08-26T00:00:00+0000A French chemist and microbiologist, Pasteur helped develop a method to slow the development of microbes in milk and wine called pasteurisation. He also pioneered the first vaccine against rabies.1895-09-28T00:00:00+0000Domagk was a German pathologist, physician and bacteriologist. He is best known for having found sulphonamide to be an effective drug against bacterial infections. The molecule had originally been synthesised by chemists at the German company Bayer in 1908. Domagk discovered the antibacterial properties of the drug through preliminary tests in mice in 1931. Soon after this he successfully treated his own daughter struck down by a severe streptococcal infection. His work paved the way to the widespread adoption of sulphonamide drugs, the first commercially available antibiotics, in the late 1930s to treat infections caused by streptococci, including blood infections, childbirth fever, and erysipelas. Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1939 but the Nazi regime forced him to refuse it, with the Gestapo putting him under arrest for a week. He finally received the Nobel Prize in 1947. 1895-10-30T00:00:00+0000Hench was a physician who helped discover cortisone, a hormone of the adrenal cortex, and demonstrate its utility for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He headed up the Department of Rheumatic Diseases at the the Mayo Clinic. Early on he hypothesised that steroids could alleviate the pain associated with the disease, but the difficulty and expense of production hindered his ability to try out his theory. The clinical trials were finally carried out in 1948 and 1949. Hench was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in 1950.1896-02-28T00:00:00+0000Gerty Cori shared the 1947 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how the body metabolises glycogen, which is important to how the body stores energy. 1896-08-15T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
Jul 1891John H Northrop born in Yonkers NY, USANorthropRockefeller InstituteBiochemistry
14 Nov 1891Frederick Grant Banting was born in CanadaGrantUniversity of TorontoBiochemistry, Endocrinology
1892Establishment of the Wistar Institute Wistar Institute 
28 Mar 1892Corneille J F Heymans born in Ghent, BelgiumHeymansGhent UniversityRespiration
5 Dec 1892Carl Richard Moore was born in Missouri, USAMooreUniversity of ChicagoBiochemistry, Endocrinology
17 Dec 1892Edwin J Cohn was born in New York CityCohnNew York CityBiochemistry
May 1893First successful treatment of cancer patient with immunotherapyColeyMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterCancer immunotherapy, Oncology
16 Sep 1893Albert Szent-Gyorgyi von Nagyrapolt was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)Szent-Gyorgyi Szeged UniversityCell
13 Nov 1893Edward A Doisy was born   
1894Opening of new building for the Wistar Institute designed to house its museum of anatonmical models and foster research Wistar Institute 
2 Apr 1894Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard diedBrown-Sequard Endocrinology
1895Complement detected to be an accessory to antibodiesBordetPasteur InstituteAntibodies
1895Humans treated with antiserum prepared against human cancer. This established the principle of using serotherapy to fight cancerHericourt, RichetCollege de FranceImmunology, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
21 Feb 1895Carl P H Dam was born in Copenhagen, DenmarkDamCopenhagen, Denmark 
10 Aug 1895Felix Hoppe-Seyler diedHoppe-SeylerUniversity of TubingenBiochemistry
26 Aug 1895Johann Friedrich Miescher diedMiescher DNA Sequencing
28 Sep 1895Louis Pasteur diedPasteurPasteur InstituteBacteriology, Vaccine
30 Oct 1895Gerhard Domagk was born in Lagow, GermanyDomagkMunster UniversityAntibacterial agents, Bacteriology
28 Feb 1896Philip Showalter Hench was born in Pittsburgh PA, USAHenchMayo ClinicBiochemistry, Endocrinology
15 Aug 1896Gerty Theresa Cori, nee Radnitz, was born in Prague, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)CoriWashington University in St LouisBiochemistry

15 Aug 1896

John H Northrop born in Yonkers NY, USA

14 Nov 1891

Frederick Grant Banting was born in Canada

1892

Establishment of the Wistar Institute

28 Mar 1892

Corneille J F Heymans born in Ghent, Belgium

5 Dec 1892

Carl Richard Moore was born in Missouri, USA

17 Dec 1892

Edwin J Cohn was born in New York City

May 1893

First successful treatment of cancer patient with immunotherapy

16 Sep 1893

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi von Nagyrapolt was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)

13 Nov 1893

Edward A Doisy was born

1894

Opening of new building for the Wistar Institute designed to house its museum of anatonmical models and foster research

2 Apr 1894

Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard died

1895

Complement detected to be an accessory to antibodies

1895

Humans treated with antiserum prepared against human cancer. This established the principle of using serotherapy to fight cancer

21 Feb 1895

Carl P H Dam was born in Copenhagen, Denmark

10 Aug 1895

Felix Hoppe-Seyler died

26 Aug 1895

Johann Friedrich Miescher died

28 Sep 1895

Louis Pasteur died

30 Oct 1895

Gerhard Domagk was born in Lagow, Germany

28 Feb 1896

Philip Showalter Hench was born in Pittsburgh PA, USA

15 Aug 1896

Gerty Theresa Cori, nee Radnitz, was born in Prague, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)