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Bernard Katz

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Title: Bernard Katz  
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Subject: UCL Neuroscience, John Eccles (neurophysiologist), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Julius Axelrod, Bert Sakmann
Collection: 1911 Births, 2003 Deaths, Academics of University College London, Alumni of University College London, Australian Neuroscientists, Australian Nobel Laureates, British Neuroscientists, British Nobel Laureates, Electrophysiologists, English Jews, Fellows of the Royal Society, German Jews, German Neuroscientists, German Nobel Laureates, German Refugees, Jewish Refugees, Jewish Scientists, Jews Who Emigrated to the United Kingdom to Escape Nazism, Jews Who Immigrated to the United Kingdom to Escape Nazism, Knights Bachelor, Neurophysiologists, Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, People from Leipzig, Recipients of the Copley Medal
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Bernard Katz

Sir Bernard Katz
Born (1911-03-26)26 March 1911
Leipzig, German Empire
Died 20 April 2003(2003-04-20) (aged 92)
London, England
Fields Neurophysiology
Institutions University College London
Sydney Hospital
Alma mater University of Leipzig
Academic advisors Archibald Hill
Known for Neurophysiology of the synapse in 197
Notable awards Copley Medal (1967)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1970)
Spouse Marguerite ("Rita") Penly Katz (d.1999) (2 children)

Sir Bernard Katz, FRS[1] (26 March 1911 – 20 April 2003)[2] was a German-born biophysicist, noted for his work on nerve biochemistry. He shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1970 with Julius Axelrod and Ulf von Euler. He was knighted in 1970.


  • Life and career 1
  • Research 2
  • Works 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Life and career

Katz was born in [3] the latter a former Master of The Queen's Scholars at Westminster School, and current stipendary lecturer at St Anne's College, Oxford.


His research uncovered fundamental properties of synapses, the junctions across which nerve cells signal to each other and to other types of cells. By the 1950s, he was studying the biochemistry and action of acetylcholine, a signalling molecule found in synapses linking motor neurons to muscles, used to stimulate contraction. Katz won the Nobel for his discovery with Paul Fatt that neurotransmitter release at synapses is "quantal", meaning that at any particular synapse, the amount of neurotransmitter released is never less than a certain amount, and if more is always an integral number times this amount. Scientists now understand that this circumstance arises because, prior to their release into the synaptic gap, transmitter molecules reside in like-sized subcellular packages known as synaptic vesicles, released in a similar way to any other vesicle during exocytosis.

Katz's work had immediate influence on the study of nerve agents and pesticides, as he determined that the complex enzyme cycle was easily disrupted.


  • The Release of Neural Transmitter Substances (The Sherrington Lectures X), Charles C Thomas Publisher, Springfield (Illinois) 1969, pp. 60

See also


  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^ "School of Katz" (PDF). Quarterly Journal of Experimental Biology. 1990. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • Sir Bernard Katz Biography. Nobel Foundation
  • Guardian Obituary
  • Australian Neuroscience Society Obituary
  • Sabbatini, R.M.E.: Neurons and synapses. The history of its discovery IV. Chemical transmission. Brain & Mind, 2004.
  • Physiology Online, PhysiologyNews, Issue 52, Autumn 2003
  • Bernard Katz: "An autobiographical sketch"
  • König-Albert-Gymnasium Leipzig
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