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Christian de Duve

de Duve, Christian (Christian Renē Maria Joseph de Duve), 1917–2013, Belgian cell biologist, b. England, M.D., Catholic Univ. of Louvain, 1941. He joined the faculty at Louvain in 1947 and at the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller Univ.) in New York in 1962, splitting his time between the two institutions until he retired (1985 and 1988, respectively). He founded (1974) the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Brussels. In 1974 de Duve received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Albert Claude and George Palade for their pioneering work on cellular structure and function, which established modern cell biology. Using differential centrifuging, a technique refined and applied by Claude, de Duve identified a new organelle, the lysosome, which contains enzymes that aid in particle digestion and promote disintegration of cells after they die. Lysosomes are critical to the body's ability to defend against bacteria, and de Duve's discovery has had important implications in medicine, as Tay-Says and a number of other hereditary diseases are caused by deficiencies in lysosomal enzymes. He wrote A Guided Tour of the Living Cell (1984) and other works.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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