Vincent du Vigneaud


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,"[1] a reference to his work on the peptide hormone oxytocin.[2]

Vincent du Vigneaud
Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud.jpg
du Vigneaud in 1955
BornMay 18, 1901
DiedDecember 11, 1978(1978-12-11) (aged 77)
Alma materUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Rochester
Known forsynthesis of oxytocin and vasopressin
AwardsAlbert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1948)
Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1955)
Willard Gibbs Award (1956)
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic chemistry, Peptide synthesis
InstitutionsUniversity of Edinburgh
Johns Hopkins University
George Washington University
Cornell University
ThesisThe Sulfur of Insulin (1927)
Doctoral advisorJohn R. Murlin
InfluencedPanayotis Katsoyannis
Iphigenia Photaki


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.[3]

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[1] on elucidating and synthesizing oxytocin[2] and vasopressin via manipulating the AVP gene, he had established a reputation from his research on insulin, biotin, transmethylation, and penicillin.[4]

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.


He joined Alpha Chi Sigma while at the University of Illinois in 1930.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1955". Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b du Vigneaud, Vincent; Ressler, Charlotte; Swan, John M.; Roberts, Carleton W.; Katsoyannis, Panayotis G. (1954). "The Synthesis of Oxytocin". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 76 (12): 3115–3121. doi:10.1021/ja01641a004.
  3. ^ Hofmann, Klaus. "Vincent du Vigneaud" (PDF). National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  4. ^ Ragnarsson, Ulf (2007). "The Nobel trail of Vincent du Vigneaud". Journal of Peptide Science. Vol. 13, no. 7 (published Jul 2007). pp. 431–3. doi:10.1002/psc.864. PMID 17554806.

External linksEdit

  • Vincent du Vigneaud on   including the Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1955 A Trail of Sulfa Research: From Insulin to Oxytocin