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MEDICAL HISTORY
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 141-144

Unknown facets of “not so well-known scientist” Dr. Y Subbarow: A great scientist, who did not receive the Nobel Prize


Formerly Director General Medical Services, Indian Navy, New Delhi, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_69_18

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Dr. Subbarow (January 12, 1895–August 08, 1948) had obtained admission to MBBS course but was awarded Licentiate of Medicine and Surgery instead of the MBBS degree. He went to the USA in October 1923 where he was admitted to the Harvard School of Tropical Medicine. After receiving a diploma from the school, he became interested in biochemistry. He discovered the function of adenosine triphosphate as an energy source in the cell. Despite the path-breaking discovery, Subbarow was denied tenure at Harvard. Subbarow felt that the giant pharmaceutical firms might offer greater scope for research than universities. Hence, in 1940, he joined the world-renowned Lederle Laboratories as Director of Research and spent the rest of his life in the USA. He would lead some of America's most important medical research during World War II. His output and contributions to human biology and medicine are seminal and phenomenal. His creativity is evident in the trail-blazing discoveries in the fields of biochemistry, nutritional science, pharmacology, microbiology, and oncology. Subbarow had craved for fame but was never in the limelight. He pushed into limelight those whose dedication most nearly matched his own. He was proud of the brilliant members of his research teams. He was quick to share successes with colleagues and was known for his acts of generosity. Subbarow said, “Victories of science are rarely won single handedly. No one man should get the (entire) credit.”


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