Ulf von Euler was a well-known Swedish scientist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1970 for his research on the mechanics of nerve impulses. He came from a long history of academics in his family. Both of his parents were accomplished scientists, with his father winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1929. His maternal grandfather discovered the chemical elements thulium and holmium, and his great-great-great-grandfather was Leonhard Euler, the brilliant mathematician and physicist. Growing up in such an atmosphere, it was clear from an early age that he would follow in their footsteps. He enrolled at Karolinska Institute to study medicine after graduating from high school, but was quickly drawn to research. He worked with Göran Liljestrand there, and on his suggestion, he was hired as an Assistant Professor at his alma university, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship to study overseas, shortly after receiving his doctorate. He jumped at the chance to collaborate with eminent experts in England, Belgium, and Germany. During this time, he made his first discovery,’substance-P,’ which he discovered while experimenting with rabbits. He went on to identify four other endogenous active substances: prostaglandin, vesiglandin, piperidine, and noradrenaline. His Nobel Prize was awarded for his discovery of the last-mentioned chemical. He was a superb teacher and mentor at the same time. He was dubbed the “grand old man” of chemical information transfer and signaling near the end of his life.
Childhood and Adolescence
Ulf von Euler was born on February 7, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, into a well-educated family. Hans Karl August Simon von Euler-Chelpin, Hans Karl August Simon von Euler-father, Chelpin’s was a Swedish biochemist born in Germany who earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1929.
Astrid M. Cleve von Euler, his mother, was the first Swedish woman to get a doctorate in science (botany). She was the eldest daughter of Per Teodor Cleve, the inventor of holmium and thulium. She was a professor of botany and geology at Uppsala University, as well as a well-known researcher.
Ulf von Euler was the second of five children born to his parents. Despite his parents’ divorce in 1912 and his father’s subsequent marriage to Elisabeth Baroness af Ugglas the following year, his upbringing was unaffected.
Ulf von Euler grew up in a scientific milieu, thus it seemed inevitable that he would become a scientist as well. He attended school in Stockholm and Karlstad, respectively. He began studying medicine at Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s most prominent medical institutions, in 1922.
Von Euler began his studies on blood sedimentation and rheology there under Robin Fhraeus. He went on to study the pathophysiology of vasoconstriction later on.
He began working as an assistant in Göran Liljestrand’s Department of Pharmacology in 1926. He began working on his thesis at the same time and obtained his doctorate from the same institute in 1930.
Career of Ulf von Euler
On the recommendation of Göran Liljestrand, von Euler was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Pharmacology at Karolinska Institute, also known as Royal Caroline Institute, shortly after getting his PhD in 1930. In the same year, he was awarded a Rochester Fellowship to pursue post-doctoral research in another country.
As a result, he initially traveled to England to work with John H. Gaddum at Sir Henry Dale’s laboratory in London. He found an active biological component that is resistant to atropine while working with rabbits. ‘Substance P,’ he called it.
In anesthetized rabbits, the drug constricts the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and lowers blood pressure. He defined its polypeptide structure, analyzed its distribution in the body, and discovered means to purify it after working on it for a few months.
He then went on to work with I. de Burgh Daly in Birmingham, Corneille Heymans in Ghent, and Gustav Embden in Frankfurt before returning to the Karolinska Institute to continue his study. After that, he returned to Stockholm and resumed his position as an Assistant Professor at the Karolinska Institute. However, he continued to go abroad, visiting laboratories of well-known scientists all over the world.
He made his second discovery in 1934. He uncovered another atropine-resistant biological component in human seminal fluid and sheep vesicular glands as he continued his research on various tissue extracts. He coined the term “prostaglandin.”
He discovered prostaglandin to be an unsaturated, lipid-soluble, nitrogen-free organic acid after additional investigation. He then went on to detail its tissue origins, pharmacological qualities, and extraction and purification methods.
Von Euler then identified vesiglandin, an endogenous active molecule, in 1935. In 1938, he traveled to London to work with G. L. Brown on neuromuscular transmission.
Euler was named a full professor at Karolinska Institute in 1939, a position he held until 1971. Despite the fact that World War II broke out in 1939, because Norway was a neutral country, von Euler was able to focus on his studies without interruption.
He and Göran Liljestrand worked together for a long time to find a physiological phenomena that became known as the ‘Euler–Liljestrand mechanism.’ They discussed the relationship between lung ventilation and blood circulation.
Von Euler discovered piperidine, his fourth endogenous active molecule, in 1942.
He worked with Eduardo Braun-Menéndez at the Instituto de Biologa y Medicina Experimental in Buenos Aires from 1946 to 1947. He also discovered norepinephrine in 1946, which is regarded as his most important finding.
He began to focus entirely on norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, soon after identifying it. After years of investigation, he and his colleagues were finally able to prove that norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is created and stored in intracellular vesicles in nerve synaptic terminals.
Later, he studied the effects of various chemical agents on breathing, circulation, and blood pressure regulation. He was a non-dogmatic researcher with a strong connection to his lab.
He was also a fantastic mentor and teacher. He encouraged his students to experiment with fresh ideas and was always willing to listen. He had previously stated, “Few things are more satisfying to a scientist than having young students begin their study work and discover that they have produced a unique observation.”
Major Projects of Ulf von Euler
His most important contribution is the discovery of norepinephrine in the sympathetic nervous system. He and his colleagues looked at it from a variety of perspectives, and their discoveries gave the field of neurotransmission research a new direction. Not only did the finding have a significant impact on the scientific world, but it also had a significant impact on medical science.
Achievements & Awards
Ulf von Euler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1970 for his discoveries “concerning the humoral transmitters in nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release, and inactivation.” “.. Sir Bernard Katz and Julius Axelrod, who worked on the same problem independently, shared the prize.
Personal History and Legacy
Ulf von Euler married Jane Sodenstierna on April 12, 1930. Hans Leo and Johan Christopher were their sons, and Ursula Katarina and Marie Jane were their daughters. They were all highly educated and held influential positions in their fields. In 1957, the marriage ended in divorce.
On August 20, 1958, he married Dagmar Carola Adelaide Cronstedt, a Swedish Countess. They stayed together till he died. There were no offspring for the couple.
Ulf von Euler died on March 9, 1983, in Stockholm, after complications from open heart surgery.
Estimated Net worth
The Estimated Net worth of Ulf von Euler is unknown
Von Euler was the great-great-great-great grandson of Leonhard Euler, the famed mathematician of the eighteenth century who established infinitesimal calculus and graph theory, as well as making important contributions to topology and analytic number theory. He was a physicist, astronomer, logician, and engineer, among other things.