||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
February 23, 1884|
Warsaw, Russian Empire
|Died||November 20, 1967
New York, United States
|Institutions||Pasteur Institute, Lister Institute, Funk Foundation for Medical Research|
|Alma mater||University of Bern, Switzerland|
|Known for||Nutritional research, formulation of the concept of vitamins|
Kazimierz Funk[kaˈʑimiɛʐ ˈfunk] (February 23, 1884 – November 19, 1967), commonly anglicized as Casimir Funk, was a Polish biochemist, generally credited with the first formulation of the concept of vitamins in 1912, which he called vital amines or vitamines.
Contribution to science
After reading an article by the Dutchman Christiaan Eijkman that indicated people eating brown rice were less vulnerable to beri-beri than those who ate only the fully milled product, he tried to isolate the substance responsible and he succeeded around 1912. Because that substance contained an amine group, he called it vitamine. It was later to be known as vitamin B1 (thiamine). He put forward the hypothesis that other diseases, like rickets, pellagra, sprue and scurvy could also be cured by vitamins. The "e" at the end of vitamine was later removed when it was realized that vitamins need not be nitrogen containing amines.
He later postulated the existence of other essential nutrients, which became known as B1, B2, C, and D. In 1936 he determined the molecular structure of thiamin, though he was not the first to isolate it. He was the first to isolate nicotinic acid (also called niacin or vitamin B3).
The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) annually honors Polish-American scientists with the Casimir Funk Natural Sciences Award. Past winners include Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann, Aleksander Wolszczan, Hilary Koprowski, Peter T. Wolczanski, Wacław Szybalski and Benoît Mandelbrot.
Funk returned to the USA In 1940 he became the president of the Funk Foundation for Medical Research and ended his career in pursuit of orally active spleenic extracts.
- Iłowiecki, Maciej (1981). Dzieje nauki polskiej. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Interpress. p. 177. ISBN 83-223-1876-6.
- (English)Griminger P Casimir Funk A Biographical Sketch (1884–1967). Journal of Nutrition 1972 Sep;102(9):1105–13. PMID 4560436. Available from: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/102/9/1105.full.pdf
- Casimir Funk denied his Jewish identity, according to his granddaughter
- Just The Facts-Inventions & Discoveries, School Specialty Publishing, 2005
- Harow, Benjamin CASIMIR FUNK-Pioneer in Vitamins and Hormones. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York,N. Y., 1955. 209 pages.
- Review of Harow's biography at pubmedcentral, pdf
- Biography at FAQs, nutrition accessed Dec 2006.
- Piro, Anna; Tagarelli, Giuseppe; Lagonia, Paolo; Tagarelli, Antonio; Quattrone, Aldo (1 January 2010). "Casimir Funk: His Discovery of the Vitamins and Their Deficiency Disorders". Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 57 (2): 85–88. doi:10.1159/000319165.
- Griminger, Paul (September 1972). "Casimir Funk--a biographical sketch (1884-1967)". Journal of Nutrition 102 (9): 1105–1113.
- "Funk, Casimir." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 5. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. 208-209. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 19 July 2012.
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