Bengt Ingemar Samuelsson

Bengt Ingemar Samuelsson

Swedish biochemist, corecipient with fellow Swede Sune K. Bergstrom and Englishman John Robert Vane of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. The three scientists were honoured for their isolation, identification, and analysis of numerous prostaglandins, a family of natural compounds that influence blood pressure, body temperature, allergic reactions, and other physiological phenomena in mammals.
Samuelsson graduated from the University of Lund, where Bergstrom was one of his professors. He continued his studies at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, earning doctorates in biochemistry in 1960 and medicine in 1961. He remained at the Karolinska Institute as a member of the faculty, eventually succeeding Bergstrom as dean of the medical faculty.

Samuelsson joined Bergstrom in research on prostaglandins, and in 1962 they became the first to determine the molecular structure of a prostaglandin. In 1964 they announced that prostaglandins are derived from arachidonic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that is found in certain meats and vegetable oils. Samuelsson subsequently determined how arachidonic acid combines with oxygen to eventually form prostaglandins. In the 1970s he discovered several new prostaglandins, including thromboxane, which is involved in blood clotting and the contraction of blood vessels.

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