Vincent du Vigneaud (May 18, 1901 – December 11, 1978) was an American biochemist. He was recipient of the 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his work on biochemically important sulphur compounds, especially for the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone," a reference to his work on the peptide hormone oxytocin.
Vincent du Vigneaud
|Born||May 18, 1901|
Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Died||December 11, 1978 (aged 77)|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign|
University of Rochester
|Known for||synthesis of oxytocin and vasopressin|
|Awards||Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1948)|
Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1955)
Willard Gibbs Award (1956)
|Fields||Organic chemistry, Peptide synthesis|
|Institutions||University of Edinburgh|
Johns Hopkins University
George Washington University
|Thesis||The Sulfur of Insulin (1927)|
|Doctoral advisor||John R. Murlin|
Vincent du Vigneaud was born in Chicago in 1901 and graduated from Schurz High School in 1918. He began studying chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was influenced by lectures of Carl Shipp Marvel. After receiving his MS in 1924 he joined DuPont.
He married Zella Zon Ford on June 12, 1924. Restarting his academic career in 1925, du Vigneaud joined the group of John R. Murlin at the University of Rochester for his PhD thesis. He graduated in 1927 with his work The Sulfur of Insulin.
After a post-doctoral position with John Jacob Abel at Johns Hopkins University Medical School (1927–1928), he traveled to Europe as National Research Council Fellow in 1928-1929, where he worked with Max Bergmann and Leonidas Zervas at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research in Dresden, and with George Barger at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He then returned to the University of Illinois as a professor.
In 1932 he started working at the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C. and in 1938 at the Cornell Medical College in New York City, where he stayed until his emeritation in 1967. Following retirement, he held a position at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
In 1974 du Vigneaud suffered from a stroke which prevented him from resuming his academic career. He died in 1978, one year after his wife's death in 1977.
His career was characterized by an interest in sulfur-containing peptides, proteins, and especially peptide hormones. Even before his Nobel-Prize-winning work on elucidating and synthesizing oxytocin and vasopressin via manipulating the AVP gene, he had established a reputation from his research on insulin, biotin, transmethylation, and penicillin.
He also carried out a series of structure-activity relationships for oxytocin and vasopressin, perhaps the first of their type for peptides. That work culminated in the publication of a book entitled A Trail of Research in Sulphur Chemistry and Metabolism and Related Field.