Hispanic Heritage Profile: Severo Ochoa - Crafton Hills College
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Severo Ochoa
Biochemist, Nobel Prize Recipient

Born and educated in Spain, Severo Ochoa is a Hispanic scientist who is most famous for his Nobel Prize research on the bacterial enzyme, polynucleotide phosphorylate, which allowed scientists to synthesize RNA in controlled conditions.

He became the first Hispanic American to receive a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Ochoa received an M.D. from the University of Madrid School of Medicine in 1929. When World War II broke out in Europe, Ochoa and his wife moved to the United States, where he eventually found a job at New York University College of Medicine as director of biochemistry. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1974. 

After his retirement, Ochoa continued to work by advising Spanish science policy authorities and taught at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Among his other distinguished awards he has received the Neuberg Medal in Biochemistry, the Borden Award in the Medical Sciences, and many honorary degrees from prestigious universities such as Oxford.