Earl W. Sutherland, Jr.
Date of birth : 1915-11-19
Date of death : 1974-03-09
Birthplace : Burlingame, Kansas,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-15
Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr. (November 19, 1915 – March 9, 1974) was an American pharmacologist and biochemist. Sutherland was born in Burlingame, Kansas. He won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1971 "for his discoveries concerning the mechanisms of the action of hormones," especially epinephrine, via second messengers (such as cyclic adenosine monophosphate, cyclic AMP).
Earl Sutherland Jr was inspired to pursue medical research when he read a book about Louis Pasteur. In World War II he served as a battalion surgeon under George S. Patton, and after the war he spent his career studying how hormones regulate body functions.
He studied epinephrine with Nobel laureates Carl and Gerty Cori, and showed how adrenaline regulates the way sugar is broken down, providing a surge of energy when the body is under stress. In his most famous work, he discovered cyclic adenosine 3'5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP), a "second messenger" which regulates numerous intracellular reactions. Sutherland received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1971, for "his long study of hormones, the chemical substances that regulate virtually every body function."
In addition to the Nobel Prize of 1971, Sutherland won the Albert Lasker Award for basic medical research in 1970, and received the National Medal of Science in 1973. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1966. A residential dormitory at Vanderbilt was named in Sutherland's honor, and a plaque and photographic display there commemorate his achievements.
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