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Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve was a Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist. He made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade . In addition to peroxisome and lysosome, he invented the scientific names such as autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in a single occasion.

Christian de Duve.tif
de Duve lecturing on the origin of the eukaryotic cell in October 2012
Born Christian René Marie Joseph de Duve
(1917-10-02)2 October 1917
Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain
Died 4 May 2013(2013-05-04) (aged 95)
Grez-Doiceau, Belgium
Residence Belgium
Citizenship Belgian
Nationality Belgium
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege
  • Catholic University of Leuven
Known for Cell organelles
Notable awards
Spouse Janine Herman (m. 1943; d. 2008)
Children
  • Two sons, two daughters:
  • Thierry de Duve
  • Alain de Duve
  • Anne de Duve
  • Françoise de Duve
Dutch Queen Beatrix meets 5 Nobel Prize winners: Paul Berg, Christian de Duve, Steven Weinberg, Manfred Eigen, Nicolaas Bloembergen (1983)

Christian René Marie Joseph, Viscount de Duve (2 October 1917 – 4 May 2013) was a Nobel Prize-winning Belgian cytologist and biochemist. He made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade ("for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell"). In addition to peroxisome and lysosome, he invented the scientific names such as autophagy, endocytosis, and exocytosis in a single occasion.

A son of Belgian refugees during the First World War, de Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain. His family returned to Belgium in 1920. He was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwinstituut in Antwerp, and studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven. Upon earning his MD in 1941, he joined research in chemistry, working on insulin and its role in diabetes mellitus. His thesis earned him the highest university degree agrégation de l'enseignement supérieur (equivalent to PhD) in 1945. With his work on the purification of penicillin, he obtained an MSc degree in 1946. He went for further training under (later Nobel Prize winners) Hugo Theorell at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Carl and Gerti Cori at the Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of medicine at Leuven in 1947. In 1960 he was invited to the Rockfeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). With mutual arrangement with Leuven, he became professor in both universities from 1962, dividing his time between Leuven and New York. He became emeritus professor of Leuven university in 1985, and of Rockefeller in 1988.

De Duve was decorated with Viscount in 1989 by King Baudouin of Belgium. He was also a recipient of Francqui Prize, Gairdner Foundation International Award, Heineken Prize, and E. B. Wilson Medal. In 1974 he founded the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, eventually renamed the de Duve Institute in 2005. He was the founding President of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science.

He died on 4 May (Saturday) 2013 by self-induced euthanasia in the presence of all of his children.

Ultimate Reality of Christian de Duve

Christian de Duve (1917-2013) was a Belgian biochemist, best known for his work on understanding and categorising subcellular organelles. He won the Nobel ...

Rencontre avec Christian de Duve, prix Nobel de physiologie ou médecine 1974

Sabine Ringelheim rencontre Christian de Duve, prix Nobel de physiologie ou médecine 1974.

Christian de Duve - The discovery of lysosomes (42/106)

Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve (1917-2013) was best known for his work on understanding and categorising subcellular organelles. He won the Nobel ...

Christian de Duve : un message aux générations actuelles et futures

Dans un entretien vidéo, Christian de Duve (1917-2013), Prix Nobel de Médecine (1974), a absolument tenu à ajouter un message, à l'adresse des générations ...

Origin, Evolution, and the Future of Life on Earth

Roundtable discussion with Christian de Duve, James P. Ferris, Colin McGinn, Edward Nersessian, Mark Norell, and Robert Pollack.

Christian de Duve - Vital Dust: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth (82/106)

Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve (1917-2013) was best known for his work on understanding and categorising subcellular organelles. He won the Nobel ...