Kaj Ulrik Linderstrøm-Lang (1896-1959)
The Danish scientist Kaj Ulrik Linderstrøm-Lang was one of the most influential pioneers in the area of protein structure and function from the 1940’s until his death in 1959. At the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, he established a highly inspiring research environment which attracted many of the very best researchers in the field (amongst these the later Nobel laureate Christian Anfinsen). Through the design of novel highly sensitive micromethods Linderstrøm-Lang engaged subjects ranging from protein dynamics, electrochemistry, structure and stability. Through this work he continuously pushed the limits of what questions could be addressed and laid the foundations of modern protein chemistry. At the time Copenhagen was broadly recognized as a Mecca for protein science.
Some of the most important contributions of Linderstrøm-Lang for which he is often cited are the theory behind hydrogen-deuterium exchange reactions in proteins and the distinction of primary, secondary and tertiary protein structure. The latter was first presented in his Lane medical lectures at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1951 and published in the transcripts of the lectures in 1952. The relevant part of the transcript can be downloaded here: Linderstrøm-Lang KU. (1952) "Proteins and Enzymes", Lane Medical Lectures, Stanford University Publications, University Series, Medical Sciences, vol. 6, Stanford University Press.
Many of the questions, he put forth in the 1950’s, still puzzle the scientific community today.
Read more about the life and achievements of Linderstrøm-Lang in this biography.