Structural Biochemistry/Albert Claude

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Albert Claude (August 23, 1899 - May 22, 1983), who was a Belgium biochemist who specialized in the structure and function of cells was born in Longlier, Belgium and is most well known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology and Medicine 1974 with Christian de Duve and George Emil Palade "for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell." Albert Claude made giant strides for cell biology in his studies of the cell structure.

Claude was born and buried in Belgium but was also a U.S. citizen. He served in World War I with British Intelligence and later received the Inter-Allied Medal for his contributions and was admitted into the University of Liege through a program for war veterans.

After receiving his medical degree in 1928, he joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York in 1929 and became an American citizen. In 1930 Claude discovered the process of cell fractionation. This was groundbreaking at the time because prior to Claude's research, it was thought that the inside of cells were composed of a chaotic mass of substances with no order or particular function. However, with his discovery, Claude was able to show that cell interiors are in fact very well-organized. To discover cell fractionation, Claude used mechanisms from everyday machinery. He combined the mechanism from meat grinders and a sieve to construct a simple, high-speed centrifuge which led the way for ultracentrifugation, a technique for breaking and spinning infected cells to isolate their agents according to mass. He discovered that particular fractions of the cells correlated to particular cell functions. Claude discovered the endoplasmic reticulum, which is a membranous network within a cell. The rough endoplasmic reticulum, which has ribosomes attached to the surface, synthesizes proteins. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum synthesizes lipids and steroids, metabolizes carbohydrates and steroids (but not lipids), and regulates calcium concentration, drug metabolism, and attachment of receptors on cell membrane proteins. Claude is also coined as one of the first scientists to have used an electronic microscope for his cellular structure studies.

In 1948, he returned to Belgium where he was the dictator of the Jules Bordet Research Institute. He then went on to retire in 1972.