Oskar Wintersteiner

November 15, 1898 - August 15, 1971

Scientific Discipline: Biochemistry
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1950)

Oskar Wintersteiner focused his research on the organic chemistry of natural products. Through new laboratory methods, he was able to deduce the chemical composition of insulin. The majority of his work was concentrated in the preparation of crystalline organic compounds. He was the first person to crystallize penicillin and discover that it contained sulfur, a discovery that was instrumental in determining a method of synthesizing the drug. For this work, he was awarded the Presidential Certificate of Merit in 1948.

Wintersteiner earned his PhD in 1922 from the University of Graz in Austria. In 1927 he joined the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a professor. Two years later he became professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He then served as director of research in organic chemistry and biological chemistry at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research from 1941 until his retirement.

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