Maud Menten

Maud Leonora Menten was a German-born biochemist who discovered the Michaelis-Menten equation, which is one of the best-known equations of enzyme kinetics used to describe the rate of enzymatic reactions. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1913, and she received her medical degree in the same year when she developed the concept which had a great impact on the study of biological reactions with Dr. Leonor Michaelis. In 1913, they proposed the mathematical model  of invertase catalyzing the hydrolysis, or unbinding, of sucrose (C12H22O11) into glucose and fructose. In their equation, KM is the Michaelis constant which shows the concentration of the substrate, which is the substance acted upon by an enzyme, at the state when the reaction velocity is one-half of its maximum velocity. After obtaining her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Chincago in 1916, Menten worked at the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant.She also co-devised the standard method of isolating and describing protein  behavior later on, and was later promoted to a full professor in 1948. 

While doing further research and getting onto more discoveries about blood suger, hemoglobin (a protein which carries oxygen throughout the body found in red blood cells) and kidney functions, Menten’s passions were not only limited by science. She

could speak several languages fluently, including Russian, French, German and Italian. Menten also loved astronomy and mountain climbing. Furthermore, after she developed her interest towards arts and music, some of her oil paintings were exhibited in the major exhibitions, and Menten was also a clarinet player.

Even after she retired in 1950, Menten also continued her research on cancer at the British Columbia Research Institute. The total amount of scientific papers she published in her life was over 70.

References:

1. Marelene Rayner-Canham & Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham. (2017) Maud Menten. Retrieved Apr. 13 from http://www.chemistryexplained.com/Ma-Na/Menten-Maud.html

2. Wikipedia. (2017) Michaelis-Menten Kinetics. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michaelis%E2%80%93Menten_kinetics

3. Wikipedia. (2017) Maud Menten. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maud_Menten

4. Wikipedia. (2017) Hydrolysis. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrolysis

5. International Programme on Chemical Safety. (2004-2012) Sucrose. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucrose

6. Dictionary. (2017) Substrate. Retrieved Apr. 13 from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/substrate

7. Washington Edu. (n.d.) Michaelis-Menten Kinetics and Briggs-Haldane Kinetics. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://depts.washington.edu/wmatkins/kinetics/michaelis-menten.html

8. Chemical Heritage Foundation. (Dec 22, 2015) Leonor Michaelis and Maud Leonora Menten. Retrieved Apr. 13 from https://www.chemheritage.org/historical-profile/leonor-michaelis-and-maud-leonora-menten

9. Mayo Clinic Staff. (May 08, 2015) Low Hemoglobin Count. Retrieved Apr. 13 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/low-hemoglobin/basics/definition/sym-20050760

Comments

  1. Danté W. says:

    Interesting blog post. Very few people realize the Menten in the famous Michaelis-Menten equation was a Canadian woman. Even less people know that of the six languages she spoke, one was the Sto’lo language Halq’ameylem which she learned as a child growing up in Harrison Mills, near Agassiz.

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