Zacharias Dische

Columbia University

February 18, 1895 - January 17, 1988

Scientific Discipline: Biochemistry
Membership Type:
Emeritus (elected 1976)

Zacharias Dische made principal contributions to the field of polysaccharide biochemistry. He studied the intermediary metabolism of blood cells, finding that mannose, a sugar previously thought to not exist in animal tissue, was an important building block of protein-bound-carbohydrate in blood plasma. Through further work on oligosaccharides, he created a DNA assay involving a blue color reaction with diphenylamine in acid, which is named the “Dische reaction”. 
Dische received his M.D. from the University of Vienna and became a research associate and head of the Physiological Institute there from 1923 to 1938. While seeking asylum in France, during removal of Jewish academics in Austria before World War II, he conducted research at the Biochemical Institute at the University of Marseilles until 1941. In 1943, he moved to the United States and began his academic career at Columbia University where he served as a research assistant in the Department of Biochemistry, and Assistant professor and chemist in the Department of Biochemistry in 1948, and a professor and special lecturer from 1957 until his retirement.

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