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Hans Adolf Krebs

Born 25 August 1900(1900-08-25)
Hildesheim, Germany
Died 22 November 1981 (aged 81)
Oxford, England
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality Germany
Fields Internal medicine, biochemistry
Institutions Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology
University of Hamburg
Cambridge University
University of Sheffield
University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Göttingen
University of Freiburg
University of Berlin
University of Hamburg
Known for discovery of the urea cycle and the citric acid cycle
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1953)

Sir Hans Adolf Krebs (25 August 1900 – 22 November 1981) was a German born British physician and biochemist. Krebs is best known for his identification of two important metabolic cycles: the urea cycle and the citric acid cycle. The latter, the key sequence of metabolic chemical reactions that produces energy in cells, is also known as the Krebs cycle and earned him a Nobel Prize in 1953.



Early years

Krebs was born in Hildesheim, Germany, to Georg Krebs, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon, and Alma Davidson . He went to school in Hildesheim and studied medicine at the University of Göttingen and at the University of Freiburg from 1918–1923. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg in 1925, then studied chemistry in Berlin for one year, where he later became an assistant of Otto Warburg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology until 1930.


Krebs joined the German army in 1932, and was appointed to the 13th mechanized infantry division regardless of his Jewish faith. Krebs returned to clinical medicine at the municipal hospital of Altona and then at the medical clinic of the University of Freiburg, where he conducted research and discovered the urea cycle. Because he was Jewish, he was barred from practicing medicine in Germany and he emigrated to England in 1933. He was invited to Cambridge, where he worked in the biochemistry department under Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1861–1947). Krebs became professor of biochemistry at the University of Sheffield in 1945. Krebs's area of interest was intermediary metabolism. He identified the urea cycle in 1932, and the citric acid cycle in 1937 at the University of Sheffield. He moved to Oxford as Professor of Biochemistry in 1954 and after his retirement continued work at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford until his death. He was a fellow of Trinity College.

In 1953 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology for his "discovery of the citric acid cycle." He was knighted in 1958.

He was elected Honorary Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University in 1979.

Personal life

Krebs was married in 1938 to Margaret Cicely Fieldhouse with whom he had three children: sons, John (later Baron Krebs, an ornithologist and member of the House of Lords) and Paul, and daughter, Helen. Krebs died in Oxford, England in 1981.

See also


  • Weber, G (2001). "Sir Hans A. Krebs Centenary Lecture: cancer and clinical targeting". Adv. Enzyme Regul. 41: 1–29. doi:10.1016/S0065-2571(00)00026-1. PMID 11417529.  
  • Stubbs, M; Gibbons G (September 2000). "Hans Adolf Krebs (1900-1981)...his life and times". IUBMB Life 50 (3): 163–6. doi:10.1080/152165400300001462. PMID 11142342.  
  • Raju, T N (May 1999). "The Nobel chronicles. 1953: Hans Adolf Krebs (1900-81) and Fritz Albert Lipmann (1899-1986)". Lancet 353 (9164): 1628. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)75758-5. PMID 10334294.  
  • Sri Kantha, S: The question of nepotism in the award of Nobel prizes; a critique of the view of Hans Krebs. Medical Hypotheses, 1991; 34: 28-32.

External links

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