Dr Alan R North - 2009

"The life and times of Hans Walter Kosterlitz"

Dr R. Alan North
Vice-President of the University of Manchester, UK and
Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, and
Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences


Hans Walter Kosterlitz (1903 - 1996) was an influential biochemist, physiologist and pharmacologist and a key founder of the International Narcotics Research Conference (formerly Club). The Founder's lecture will describe his early life in Germany, his move to Aberdeen in 1934 to join Macleod in the study of carbohydrate metabolism, and his subsequent contributions to our knowledge of opiates. His interests turned to morphine in the late 1950's, and he introduced several morphine-sensitive bioassays using peripheral tissues. One of these (the mouse vas deferens) proved critical for the isolation and identification of the first endogenous opioid in 1975, which he named enkephalin. Kosterlitz adopted the quantitative pharmacological concepts of Gaddum, Stephenson and Schild to the study of opiates, and this was key to the definition and distinguishing of opiate receptor subtypes. This Founder was gallant and combative in equal measure, a ready teacher but dismissive of mediocrity, and in his search for natural truth indefatigable yet humble.

INRC Conference