Albert Chibnall

Albert Charles Chibnall FRS[1] (28 January 1894 – 10 January 1988) was a British biochemist known for his work on the nitrogen metabolism of plants.

Albert Charles Chibnall
Born(1894-01-28)28 January 1894
Died10 January 1988(1988-01-10) (aged 93)
Spouse(s)Marjorie Chibnall
Scientific career
Notable studentsFred Sanger

Life and career

Chibnall was born and educated in England, joined the Army Service Corps at the outbreak of World War I and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. From 1917 to 1919, he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, in Egypt and in Salonika. Following the war he became a research student at Imperial College, London, working with, and eventually succeeding S.B. Shryver as Professor of Biochemistry.[2] He also studied for two years at Yale in the laboratory of T. B. Osborne, an expert in plant chemistry

His work focused on plant biochemistry but he was appointed the second Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at Cambridge University in 1943.[3] He resigned in 1949 since he felt it was a role more suited to a medically qualified biochemist.

His notable students included Fred Sanger who, after he was awarded in PhD in 1943 joined Chibnall's lab. Chibnall suggested Sanger work on methods of identifying the terminal amino acid of Insulin. Chibnall then declined to have his name on Sanger's paper on the grounds that Sanger should get all the credit. Sanger took a similar generous attitude to his students.[4]

Chibnall married first in 1931; his wife died five years later. They had two daughters. His second wife was the medieval historian, Marjorie Chibnall, whom he married in 1947 some years after the death of his first wife. They had a son and a daughter. In her company, Chibnall developed an interest in medieval history. In 1965, he published Sherington – Fiefs and Fields of a Buckinghamshire Village, a study of his ancestral home. He also published Richard de Badew and the University of Cambridge, 1315–1340.

Chibnall died in 1988.


  1. Synge, R. L. M.; Williams, E. F. (1990). "Albert Charles Chibnall. 28 January 1894 – 10 January 1988". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 35: 56. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1990.0003.
  2. "Obituary of Professor A.C. Chibnall". The Times of London. January 1988.
  3. Synge, R.L.M.; E.F. Williams (March 1990). "Albert Charles Chibnall. 28 January 1894-10 January 1988". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 35: 56–96. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1990.0003. JSTOR 769973.
  4. "Frederick Sanger: Two-Time Nobel Laureate in Chemistry" by Joe S Jeffers. Springer p2 ISBN 978-3319547077
Academic offices
Preceded by
S. B. Shryver
Professor of Biochemistry, Imperial College, London
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Frederick Hopkins
Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry, Cambridge University
1943 - 1949
Succeeded by
Frank George Young

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