Wilhelm Feldberg

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Wilhelm Siegmund Feldberg CBE FRS (19 November 1900 – 23 October 1993) was a German-British-Jewish physiologist and biologist.


Feldberg was born in Hamburg to a wealthy middle class Jewish family. He studied medicine at Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin, graduating in 1925. In the same year he moved with his new wife to England and studied first under John Newport Langley at Cambridge and then Henry Dale at Hampstead. In 1927 he returned to the Physiological Institute in Berlin but he was dismissed in 1933 during the Nazi purge of Jewish scientists. With the aid of Archibald Hill's Academic Assistance Council, Feldberg was relocated to Britain's National Institute for Medical Research in 1934-36. Here, he worked with Henry Hallett Dale, providing a significant impetus for Dale's Nobel Prize winning research into chemical neurotransmission. Feldberg was subsequently offered a place in Australia, at the behest of Charles Kellaway, director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He spent two years (1936–38) in Melbourne, joining Kellaway's snake venom research programme. This work developed into a study of tissue responses to direct and indirect insult, focusing particularly on the liberation of histamine and other endogenous mediators. A finding of lasting pharmacological interest from these studies was the identification and partial isolation of the slow-reacting substance of anaphylaxis. Although Feldberg had earned a fellowship...
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