In the Front Line of World Science

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The creation and organization of the Institute of Molecular Biology (in its first six years it was called the Institute of Radiation and Physicochemical Biology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR) is forever connected with the name of Vladimir Alexandrovich Engelhardt, one of the most outstanding biochemists and molecular biologists of the 20th century. Vladimir Alexandrovich won broad fame and international acclaim as far back as the 1930s for discovering oxidative (respiratory) phosphorylation with the participation of ATP. In the beginning of the 1940s, Vladimir Alexandrovich earned fame again, when he and his wife Milicia Nikolaevna Lyubimova discovered the fermentation activity of myosin protein, which allowed him to suggest a theory about the combination of the structure and functions of biological compounds on the level of individual molecules. This scientific body of work became part of a goldmine of science, while Vladimir Alexandrovich began to be justifiably referred to as one of the founders of molecular biology in our country.

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In t h e m i d d l e t h e 1 9 5 0 s , Vladimir Alexandrovich progressed up the career ladder and became an AcademicianSecretary of the Biological Research Branch, Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Needless to say, he had to immediately join in the reconstruction and consolidation of Russian experimental biology and genetics, which were almost completely in ruins. The most important stage in that process was, in his opinion, the creation of the first specialized Russian molecular biological institute. Vladimir Alexandrovich managed to build that institute with the unwavering support of A.N. Nesmeyanov, president of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and a group of outstanding physicists such as I.V. Kurchatov, P.L. Kapitsa, and I.E. Tamma. The Resolution on the Creation of a New Molecular Biological Institute was adopted in April of 1957 by the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, but in fact the institute was launched two years later.

About the authors

A V Zelenin

V L Karpov


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Copyright (c) 2009 Zelenin A.V., Karpov V.L.

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