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Christian Boehmer Anfinsen, Jr. (March 26, 1916 – May 14, 1995) was a biochemist and a 1972 Nobel Prize laureate for work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation (see Anfinsen's dogma).

Anfinsen was born in Monessen, Pennsylvaniamarker to a Norwegian American family. He earned a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore Collegemarker in 1937, a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvaniamarker in 1939, and in 1943 a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard Medical Schoolmarker. While attending Swarthmore Collegemarker he played varsity football and joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.

Anfinsen stayed at Harvard as an assistant professor until 1950, when he began working for the National Institute of Healthmarker, where he spent most of his career, until 1981. From 1982 until his death in 1995, Anfinsen was professor of biology at Johns Hopkins.

In 1961 he showed that ribonuclease could be refolded after denaturation while preserving enzyme activity, thereby suggesting that all the information required by protein to adopt its final conformation is encoded in its primary structure.

He converted to Judaism by undergoing an Orthodox conversion in 1979.


  1. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1972 Press Release

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