2006 - Otto Folin

Otto Folin
Otto Folin

Otto Folin – 1888: Swedish immigrant, became a Harvard professor and later America’s first bio-chemist.

Folin was born in Åseda, Småland in Sweden, the son of Nils Magnus Folin and Eva Olson. He moved to America at the age of fifteen following two brothers and an aunt who had already settled there. He carried on his schooling in Stillwater. He moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota entering the University of Minnesota and completed his B.S in 1892. In 1890, he became a citizen of the United States. He joined the University of Chicago gaining his Ph.D. in 1898.

In 1899 he was appointed assistant professor at West Virginia University. He moved to the McLean Hospital Boston in 1900 as a research biochemist, eventually moving to Harvard Medical School in 1907 as an associate professor of biological chemistry, becoming the Hamilton Kuhn professor in 1909. Together with Vintilă Ciocâlteu Otto Folin designed the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent to detect polyphenols. In 1920, he co-developed with Hsien Wu the Folin-Wu method of assaying glucose in protein-free filtrates of blood.