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August 7: Testosterone and Estrogen

August 7, 2014
07Dr. Ernst Laqueur, a founder of modern endocrinology who was among the first to isolate estrogen and testosterone, was born near Breslau, Lower Silesia, on this date in 1880. He was a co-founder of the Dutch pharmaceutical company Organon, which was the first to produce insulin for medical use in Europe. Laqueur insisted that ten percent of the company’s profits be donated to medical research, which enabled him to do cutting-edge endocrinology research. He also investigated how to treat nerve gas victims during World War I. In the 1930s, he was active in the support of refugees to the Netherlands from Nazism. However, once the Nazis entered the Netherlands, Laqueur lost his position as a university professor and was barred from his laboratory. With the help of many, he managed to avoid wearing the yellow star and to remain with his wife in Amsterdam until the end of 1943, when he was deported to a concentration camp. He survived to the end of the war, and died from a heart attack in 1947 while helping at a roadside accident in Switzerland. “Ernst Laqueur was an attentive grandfather and a charming host. He was an excellent pianist and loved to dance. For many years he was the chairman of the artists association ‘Voor Allen’ (For All) in Amsterdam.” —Helly Oestreicher, Ernst & Margarethe Laqueur-Loewenthal: Life