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Edward Adelbert Doisy

        Science | American Biologists

Doisy, Edward Adelbert (1893-1986) was an American biochemist who shared the 1943 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Danish researcher Henrik Dam for their discovery of the chemical nature of vitamin K. He is known for his research in isolating and determining the structure of chemical substances that affect the body. His research involved antibiotics, insulin, and female hormones.

Doisy was born in Hume, Illinois. He was the son of Edward Perez Doisy and Ada Alley Doisy. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1914 and his master's degree in 1916. He then began work toward a doctorate at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The outbreak of World War I (1914-1918) interrupted Doisy's studies. For two years, he served in the Army. In 1918, after the war ended, he returned to Harvard to complete his doctorate, which he received in 1920.

In 1919, Doisy became an instructor of biochemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. Three years later, he became an associate professor of biochemistry. In 1923, he moved to nearby St. Louis University's School of Medicine to take the position of professor of biochemistry. A short time later, he became chair of the department of biochemistry. He also was named the biochemist for St. Mary's Hospital. He held these two positions until his retirement in 1965.

Early in his career, Doisy worked with biologist Edgar Allen to study female sex hormones. In the late 1930's, he turned his attention to the research of Danish biochemist Henrik Dam, who had discovered a substance in the blood of chicks that decreased hemorrhaging. Dam named this substance vitamin K. With Dam's research in hand, Doisy further researched the vitamin. He was able to determine its structure, and his research team later synthesized it. For this work, he and Dam shared the 1943 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.