Five Nobel Laureates passed through the cloisters of the UBA in its two centuries of history

Carlos Saavedra Lamas was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1936, the first Latin American to receive it. Photo: Tlam Archive

Five Nobel laureates passed through the classrooms of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in its 200-year history, a unique event in every higher institution in Ibero-America and one of the few higher education institutions in the world that achieves it. Tlam Radio produced a series of podcasts that review the work and thinking of each of them.

Carlos Saavedra Lamas

Carlos Saavedra Lamas the first Argentine and Latin American awarded a Nobel Prize. This lawyer, diplomat and politician received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936, when he held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of our country, for having inspired an anti-public agreement that later bore his name.

Saavedra Lamas, who graduated as a lawyer from the UBA, was an important mediator in the end of the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, a condition that led him to convene the Buenos Aires Peace Conference and avoid the presence of the army. of the United States in the conflict zone.

Between 1941 and 1943 he was rector of the UBA and later, professor of Labor Legislation. He also stood out in international law and He was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, in the Netherlands.

In 1915 he had assumed as Minister of Justice and Public Instruction during the presidency of Victorino de la Plaza and due to his knowledge in the area of ​​the Ministry of Labor he was appointed in 1928, president of the XI International Labor Conference, where he was the first Argentine to I got to that position

Bernardo Alberto Houssay

Bernardo Alberto Houssay, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1947. Photo: Telam Archive

Bernardo Alberto Houssay, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1947. Photo: Tlam Archive

Bernardo Alberto Houssay received the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his research and discoveries on the role of the pituitary in regulating the amount of sugar in the blood, which were essential to understanding diabetes.

Born in Buenos Aires on April 10, 1887, he was a prodigy student and graduated from high school at the age of 13 from the National College of Buenos Aires; at the age of 17 he graduated from a pharmacist and at the age of 23 he graduated from the UBA as a doctor.

He worked at the National Bacteriological Institute (today, the Malbrn Institute), in which he directed the Serums Department and participated in the national campaign on antidotes to vipers in different provinces of the country.

In 1922 he received the National Science Prize for his work on the physiological action of pituitary extracts, in which there are indications of the research that earned him the Nobel.

In 1945 he published the treatise Human Physiology, co-authored with members of her work teams, among which Luis Federico Leloir stood out.

Luis Federico Leloir

The third laureate in Stockholm, belonging to the UBA, was precisely Leloir, who was a doctor, biochemist and pharmacist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970 for his research on sugar nucleotides, and the role they play in the manufacture of carbohydrates.

Luis Federico Leloir received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970. Photo: Telam Archive

Luis Federico Leloir received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970. Photo: Tlam Archive

Leloir he received his medical degree from the UBA in 1932, and then, with the intention of knowing and deepening better about biological processes, he devoted himself to research at the Institute of Physiology of this same house of studies which, at that time, was directed by Houssay.

Houssay himself was the supervisor of Leloir’s doctoral thesis. Through it, the young doctor investigated some issues related to carbohydrate metabolism. He finished his thesis in two years and later moved to Cambridge, England, to pursue a postgraduate degree.

Already in Argentina, Leloir had assumed the position of professor of Physiology in the chair of Houssay; but, Before the coup of 1943, he decided to go into exile and began to work in the United States.

When he returned to Argentina, he returned to work with his mentor and friend Houssay, at the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine. Some years later, Houssay proposed to Leloir to be director of another organization: the Institute for Biochemical Research-Campomar Foundation (today, the Leloir Institute Foundation), created on November 7, 1947.

Adolfo Prez Esquivel

On October 13, 1980, the leadership of the Argentine civic military dictatorship refused to accept the news that reached them from the Norwegian Embassy in Buenos Aires, in which they were notified of the distinction of Adolfo Prez Esquivel as Nobel Peace Prize.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was distinguished with the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received on behalf of the peoples of America. Photo: Telam Archive

Adolfo Prez Esquivel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which he received on behalf of the peoples of America. Photo: Tlam Archive

Until that moment, Prez Esquivel was an unknown man for a large part of the Argentine people. Born in San Telmo, an architect, sculptor and teacher, at the beginning of the 70s he began to get involved in movements that fight for peace.

Actively participated in the founding of the Peace and Justice Service (Serpaj), a movement in defense of Human Rights in Latin America. He also participated in the advent of the Peace and Justice Ecumenical Movement, made up of various Christian groups. And, a few years later, in the creation of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights.

For his work together with the Peace and Justice Service -which continues to be active in Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico and El Salvador- Prez Esquivel was distinguished with the Nobel Peace Prize, which received in the name of the peoples of America. The distinction also made it possible to make known to the world the systematic extermination plan carried out by the last civilian military dictatorship.

Prez Esquivel, since September 1998 is the holder of the Chair of Culture for Peace and Human Rights, in the Faculty of Social Sciences and in 2006 the UBA awarded him the Doctorate Honoris Causa.

In 2006, Pérez Esquivel received an Honorary Doctorate from the UBA. Photo: Telam Archive

In 2006, Prez Esquivel received an Honorary Doctorate from the UBA. Photo: Tlam Archive

Csar Milstein

Csar Milstein, student of Chemical Sciences at the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, In 1984 he received the same distinction as Bernardo Houssay, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

He graduated as a Bachelor and then a Doctor in Chemistry at the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences and in 1957 he was selected as a researcher at the “Carlos Malbrn” National Institute of Microbiology,

In 1961 he took over the Department of Molecular Biology at the Malbrn Institute. After the coup of 1962 and the intervention of the Institute, Milstein settled in Cambridge. There he made a central discovery: manufacture pure antibody lines capable of detecting and engaging a specific part of an antigen and defeating it.

As a result of this finding, it was possible to develop various innovative drugs, such as drugs to prevent transplant rejections, passive immunization for Respiratory Syncytial virus,

César Milstein, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1984. Photo: Telam Archive

Csar Milstein, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1984. Photo: Tlam Archive

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the Nobel Prize received by Cesar Milstein and 60 years since his return to Argentina, so the executive branch declared 2021 as the “Year of Tribute to the Nobel Prize Csar Milstein”.

This measure seeks to recognize the legacy of the doctor, who transcended the borders of the country and his discovery of monoclonal antibodies set a milestone in the history of medicine and influenced various specialties such as immunology, oncology, biotechnology, as well as in the industry.

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Five Nobel Laureates passed through the cloisters of the UBA in its two centuries of history

Hank Gilbert