Henrik Dam

About Henrik Dam

Who is it?: Biochemist
Birth Year: 1895
Birth Place: Copenhagen, Danish
Awards: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Henrik Dam

Henrik Dam was born on 1895 in Copenhagen, Danish, is Biochemist. Carl Peter Henrik Dam was a Danish biochemist who, along with Edward A. Doisy, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1943. He won the prize “for his discovery of vitamin K”. Born in a modest family of an apothecary and a teacher, he graduated in chemistry from the Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute. After graduation, he began his career as an instructor in chemistry at the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. Within the next three years, he was appointed instructor in biochemistry at the Physiological Laboratory of the University of Copenhagen. He completed his doctoral thesis on the biological significance of sterines. During that period, while studying the metabolism of sterines in chicken, he discovered vitamin K. After he fed the chickens a restricted cholesterol free diet, he noticed that they suffered from a deficiency disease that caused them to bleed easily and lack blood clotting ability. He credited the disease to the lack of an anti-hemorrhagic vitamin that he demonstrated to be fat-soluble and present in green leaves. He named it vitamin K (Koagulations-Vitamin). In 1939, both he and Doisy, working independently, separated the vitamin from alfalfa. In 1943, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize.
Henrik Dam is a member of Scientists

Some Henrik Dam images



He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Copenhagen Polytechnic Institute (now the Technical University of Denmark) in 1920, and was appointed as assistant instructor in chemistry at the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. By 1923 he had attained the post of instructor in biochemistry at Copenhagen University's Physiological Laboratory. He studied microchemistry at the University of Graz under Fritz Pregl in 1925, but returned to Copenhagen University, where he was appointed as an assistant professor at the Institute of Biochemistry in 1928, and assistant professor in 1929. During his time as professor at Copenhagen University he spent some time working abroad, and in 1934 submitted a thesis entitled Nogle Undersøgelser over Sterinernes Biologiske Betydning (Some investigations on the biological significance of the sterines) to Copenhagen University, and received the degree of Ph.D. in biochemistry.


Between 1942–1945 he was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Rochester; it was during this period that he was awarded the 1943 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. In 1951, he was one of seven Nobel Laureates who attended the 1 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.


He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1943 for joint work with Edward Doisy work in discovering vitamin K and its role in human physiology. Dam's key experiment involved feeding a cholesterol-free diet to chickens. He initially replicated experiments reported by Scientists at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). McFarlane, Graham and Richardson, working on the chick feed program at OAC, had used chloroform to remove all fat from chick chow. They noticed that chicks fed only fat-depleted chow developed hemorrhages and started bleeding from tag sites. Dam found that these defects could not be restored by adding purified cholesterol to the diet. It appeared that—together with the cholesterol—a second compound had been extracted from the food, and this compound was called the coagulation vitamin. The new vitamin received the letter K because the initial discoveries were reported in a German journal, in which it was designated as Koagulationsvitamin.

Henrik Dam trend